Reducing Radiotherapy Side Effects

Deep Inspiration Breath Hold Technique (DIBH)

DIBH is a specialised technique to deliver radiotherapy to the left breast with patients in a breath hold position. DIBH is designed to reduce any incidental radiation dose to the heart. One of the main concerns during the radiotherapy treatment is the closeness of the heart to the treatment area. Heart tissue can potentially receive some of the radiation dose due to an individuals’ internal anatomy and the position of the breast tissue requiring treatment. Evidence has shown that these incidental doses of radiation can cause patients heart related problems years after treatment has finished. In many people, using the DIBH technique is helpful in reducing the dose to the heart whilst ensuring that the breast/chest wall area receives the full prescribed dose.

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Biodegradable spacer insertion to reduce rectal toxicity during radiotherapy for prostate cancer

This procedure works well for reducing rectal toxicity during radiotherapy for prostate cancer and there are no serious concerns about its safety.

Radiotherapy can be used to treat prostate cancer, but sometimes it can irritate and damage part of the patient’s bowel that lies near the prostate. This can cause side effects such as bowel ulceration, bleeding, diarrhoea and incontinence. In this procedure, an absorbable liquid gel is injected, or a balloon is inserted, into the space between the prostate and the rectum, increasing the distance between them. The aim is to reduce the amount of radiation reaching the rectum, so reducing the risk of side effects there.

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