Prone Breast Radiation Therapy
Prone breast radiation therapy is not readily available outside of larger treatment centers in major cities across the United States. However, Radiation Oncologist Dr. Arun Puranik of Image Guided Radiation Therapy offers this treatment in an outpatient setting in the Capital Region Health Park of Latham, NY.
Turning Breast Cancer Upside Down
Studies have shown that receiving radiation to the breast while lying in the prone, or face down, position offers many benefits to women while delivering the same quality outcomes as the traditional supine position, where women lay flat on their back for radiation treatment. IGRT has skilled radiation oncologists, physicists and therapists trained in this innovative technique, continuing our tradition of offering patients in our community the full range of advanced cancer care treatment options.
A Unique Approach
Prone breast radiation therapy is a unique approach to treating breast cancer. Radiation is administered on a specially-designed table with a breast board to help a woman lay comfortably in the prone position, on her stomach with the breast hanging away from the body. The healthy breast is kept close to the body, better isolating the area for treatment. With the breast away from the body, radiation exposure to the surrounding organs and tissues like the heart and lungs, is minimized. This lowers the risk of complications such as future heart disease, lung damage and poor cosmesis.
Prone to be Safer
The radiation dose in the prone position is the same as with standard supine treatment. The patient is simply in a different position, avoiding radiation exposure to major internal organs. The heart is especially vulnerable to damage when the left breast is treated because of the location of the heart on the left side of the chest. Consequently, the prone breast position is most often used when radiating left breast cancer, although it can be used for treatment in both left and right breast cancer patients.
Prone-breast radiation therapy is also effective in delivering a consistent and precise dose of radiation throughout the course of treatment. Before the prone breast technique, women with larger breasts were placed on their backs in the traditional position to receive radiation. Gravity pulls the breasts close to the body, causing exposure to internal organs and also making treatment less consistent (because larger breasts may lay flat differently with each radiation session). With the prone position, we can ensure radiation is distributed evenly, consistently and accurately during each treatment.
Advantages of Prone Breast Radiation Therapy
- Similar long term controls as supine (traditional) positioning
- Improve dose homogeneity
- Sparing of cardiac/lung tissue
- Less exposure to chest tissue in large-breasted women
- Better Cosmesis
These advantages become even more pronounced, the larger the woman's breast is.
Is prone breast radiation therapy right for you?
At Image Guided Radiation Therapy, Dr. Arun Puranik will examine you to determine what course of treatment and positioning for radiation is best. Generally speaking, any woman regardless of age can benefit from prone breast radiation therapy. Patients will be fully evaluated and provided with all the options that give them the best chance of successfully fighting their cancer with minimal side effects. Prone breast radiation therapy has been found to be especially useful for women with large breasts. However, there are certain women who may prefer the supine, or conventional, treatment positioning. Women requiring lymph node radiation therapy are not appropriate for the prone breast technique. Additionally, a woman's internal organ structure and certain tumor locations may not enable a patient to be treated in the prone position. If you have significant arthritis, back pain or are uncomfortable lying on your stomach for a prolonged period of time, you may benefit from supine position for radiation therapy.
We are pleased to offer advanced prone breast radiation therapy as another effective and innovative option for breast cancer patients