However, it is very difficult to completely protect healthy cells during radiotherapy, and this is a particular problem when the cells in question are in vital organs of the body. When someone is having radiotherapy for left-sided breast cancer, their heart may be at risk of damage as it is so close to the area being treated. Damage to the heart can be limited by the patient holding their breath whilst the treatment is being delivered. Holding their breath fills the lungs with air, which creates space between the heart and the irradiated breast tissue.
The Visual Coaching Device monitors the patients breathing; the patient can visualise their breathing pattern on a screen and can see if they are holding their breath at the correct level for the treatment to be given safely. If the patient can’t hold their breath for the required length of time the device will register this and stop the treatment, making sure that the heart is protected.
Louise Killey, Radiotherapy Manager at SaTH said “The introduction of the Visual Coaching Device has enabled us to offer DIBH and more complex radiotherapy to more patients. The Visual Coaching Device makes the process more accurate, efficient and it’s easier for the patients to monitor their breathing.”
Naomi Atkin, CEO of Lingen Davies added “It is great to be able to support such an innovative project to help patients to have successful radiotherapy and limit their side effects. We are committed to helping people not just survive cancer, but to live well and with as few health problems as possible as a result of their treatment.”
Lingen Davies Small Grants are available for projects up to £10,000 that support people with cancer in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, and Mid Wales. Grant applications are open all year and will be awarded to organisations such as NHS bodies, councils, and in some cases other charities delivering relevant services. We do not offer grants to individuals.
If you are a professional supporting people with cancer in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, or Mid Wales, and are interested in applying for a Lingen Davies Small Grant please email [email protected]