New Jersey hospital 1st in state to offer new breast cancer radiation treatment

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Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, has become the first hospital in the state to offer a new breast cancer treatment that protects the heart when delivering radiation therapy to the left breast. 

The AlignRT technology uses 3D camera units to guide radiation therapists in positioning a patient for treatment and eliminates the need for permanent tattoos and marks on patients, according to an Oct. 14 news release. 

It enables radiation therapists to monitor a patient's skin surface in real time to ensure treatment is delivered only when a patient is correctly positioned, reducing the heart's exposure to radiation. 

While an effective breast cancer treatment, radiation has been shown to lead to cardiac complications because the left breast is so close to the heart. Radiation oncologists at Atlantic Health will combine the AlignRT technology with a technique called deep inspiration breath hold, which moves the heart away from the breast when therapy is being delivered. 

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