A new radiotherapy technique that protects women with breast cancer from life-threatening side-effects could soon be available to more patients.
The technique, called deep inspiration breath hold, essentially means patients take a deep breath and hold it just before each radiotherapy dose is delivered.
This protects the heart from damage caused by the radiation.
More than 80 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer will have radiotherapy to kill off cancer cells as part of their treatment.
However, while it is a highly effective treatment, radiotherapy — which uses beams of radiation to damage the DNA of cancer cells, causing them to die — can raise a woman’s risk of heart attack.