Get Adobe Flash player



Therapeutic Learning Center calendar








When you come in for your CT scan, the therapists will do two scans; one with you breathing normally and one with you holding your breath.  Your doctor will look at and compare the two scans.  Depending on your anatomy, breath hold may not make much difference in the position of your heart.  In this case, your doctor will decide to treat you while you breathe normally.  If there is a notable difference, your doctor may decide to treat you while you hold your breath.

How does it work?

The therapist will monitor your breathing during your treatment and CT scan.  There are video cameras focused on you that track your movement and your breathing in the treatment room.  There is NO radiation associated with the monitoring system; it is comparable to a regular camera.  It will let the therapists know how to align you and if you move or breathing during your treatment.

What can I expect during my treatment?

When you lie on the table, our therapists will line you up to the marks you received at the time of the CT scan using positioning lasers.  They will turn on the tracking cameras and a red light will shine from the cameras onto your body.  The therapists will ask you to take in a breath and move the table so that you are positioned exactly the same way you were for your CT.  You may be asked to “take in a little more air” or “blow a little air out” so that your breath is consistent.  After you are perfectly set-up, the therapists will tell you to breathe normally and step out of the room.  They will tell you over the speaker system to take in a breath and hold it for your treatment.

What if I move or can’t hold my breath for the entire treatment?

The cameras monitor your breathing and your movement during your treatment.  If you move, cough, have to breathe, etc. at any point and are not correctly positioned within the range of the cameras, the radiation will automatically cut off.  It is a live monitoring system, so if you take in another breath, radiation automatically resumes.  The therapists will help guide you from the console area over the speaker system.  Your treatment will consist of several different fields and there will be times when the machine changes position or field shape.  You only need to hold your breath while the radiation is on and the therapists will tell you this.


Help us help you:

There are three things you can do to make your treatment faster and easier:

  1. Practice holding your breath at home.  Lie down, take in a deep breath and hold it for 15 – 20 seconds.  Let it out and do it again.  Try to make each breath consistent.  The monitoring system works best when you take in approximately the same amount of air for your treatment as  you did in the planning CT.

  2. We want you to take in as deep of a breath as possible, but we do not want you to arch your back off the table.  Keeping your back flat on the table keeps you stable.

  3. Don’t stress about it.  The cameras watch you the entire time.  Try not to move your arms.  When you are ready, take in another deep breath.  You can’t mess up your treatment.  The cameras won’t let the machine treat you if you are out of position.  At worst, the therapists will come into the room and adjust you slightly.

Prone or flat on your belly position:  Another option

Another option is treating you when you lie on your belly and your breast falls through an opening of the table.  Our goal is to protect your heart and lungs during treatment.  You and your doctor will discuss which treatment is best for you.


breast cancer survivor eagle Print PDF




Home | About Us | Staff | Services | Patient Support | Resources | News | Contact Us | Site Map | Privacy Notice
© 2019 The Memorial Cancer Treatment Center Site Design by Team Creations Inc.