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AlignRT™ is a radiation-therapy guidance system that has been shown to reduce radiation exposure to the heart while patients are being treated for left breast cancer. The system ensures the radiation treatment limits the long-term effects on the heart.

Radiation can be a powerful treatment for breast cancer. However, since the left breast is very close to the heart, the heart becomes exposed to radiation, which can lead to serious long-term cardiac complications.

When treating cancer with radiation therapy, AlignRT delivers radiation to the breast area while protecting surrounding healthy tissue from exposure and potential damage. In patients with left breast cancer, extra precautions are taken to make sure that the heart receives minimal radiation exposure during treatment.

During treatment planning, the patient lies on their back while 3D images are taken of the body. The patient is then asked to take and hold a deep breath — usually for 15 - 25 seconds — so that the breast area is as far from your heart as it can be. This is called “deep inspiration breath hold.”

Then during treatment, the patients takes and holds a deep breath in the same way as before, and when the breast area is at the right position, the AlignRT radiation beam is turned on.

Using three cameras to monitor thousands of points on the skin, AlignRT can detect any motion as the patient holds their breath — side to side, up and down, forward and back and more — with sub-millimeter accuracy, so if the patient moves out of position, the radiation beam turns off automatically.

While the technology is significant for those with cancer of the left breast, it also is beneficial for other types of cancer, including brain, lung and sarcomas.

Long Beach Medical Center is the only hospital in the region to offer AlignRT and the Varian Edge radiosurgical system. The Varian Edge works by using highly focused beams of powerful radiation to overwhelm cancer cells. These two systems together provide the most precise radiation treatment available for patients with breast cancer. 

Locations Offering AlignRT