St. Mary Medical Center, in Langhorne, has introduced a new technique to limit radiation exposure to the heart for women receiving treatment for left-sided breast cancer.
The technique is called “deep inspiration breath-hold” (DIBH) and reduces radiation exposure to the heart by as much as 75 percent. This additional safety measure helps decrease a patient’s chances of adverse cardiac events, such as heart attacks and sudden cardiac death, later in life.
DIBH involves the patient taking a deep breath through a special spirometry monitor, which measures the volume of air inside the lungs. The patient is also given a set of goggles with a visual screen that shows how much air is being taken in and guides the patient to hold her breath for 20 to 30 seconds at a time. When lungs are inflated, physicians can deliver radiation more precisely, reducing exposure to healthy heart tissue.
“The more we can limit the exposure of healthy tissue to radiation and protect the heart, the better the long-term outcome of the patient will be,” says St. Mary radiation oncologist Hiral Fontanilla, M.D. “This is another advancement for our patients, who are living decades after initial diagnosis, thanks to more effective therapies.”
St. Mary Medical Center is recognized for achieving numerous national quality distinctions for best practice standards in care delivery, image quality, personnel qualifications, equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance.
Location: 1201 Langhorne Newtown Rd., Langhorne. For more information, call 215-710-2000 or visit StMaryHealthcare.org. October 2017
It’s early on a Sunday morning, but the lobby at Bryn Mawr Hospital’s Newtown Square facility is already abuzz. The space is teeming with women in stylish athleisure-wear; banquet tables are adorned with balloons and centerpieces. As guests make their way to their assigned seats, only the number of heads that remain fully covered by knit caps and scarves reveal that this is no ordinary Main Line brunch affair—this Wellness Day event is hosted by Unite for HER, a cutting-edge women’s health organization, and the attendees are Philadelphia-area women that have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The “HER” stands for Healing to Empower and Restore, and Wellness Days are one of the organization’s signature programs. This interactive, one-day workshop will introduce these women to the range of services and education that will be provided to them over the next year through their fully-funded “wellness passports”.
At its 10th anniversary celebration in March, the Healing Consciousness Foundation (HCF) honored Connie Cifelli, a two-time breast cancer survivor (or, rather, “Thriver”, as they are known within HCF) with the 2017 Geri Thompson Award. The award honors women that have promoted the mission and values of HCF for the betterment of others affected by breast cancer.
Cifelli began receiving services from HCF during her first bout with the disease, and worked as a volunteer after the cancer resolved. When she had a recurrence, Cifelli returned to start the Wellness Warriors Program, and to offer holistic nutrition counseling for other HCF women.
“I never lost faith, but you can become consumed with fear,” Cifelli says. “Because of the foundation’s programs, I was able to get back in the right frame of mind. I became really passionate about empowering other people.”
The Healing Consciousness Foundation (HCF) is holding its 1st Annual HCF Walk at Warminster Township Park, on May 21. Sign in opens at 8:30 a.m. with the walk taking place from 9 a.m. to noon, to benefit the foundation and celebrate Bucks County breast cancer survivors.
Walkers have the option to complete one, two-and-a-half or five miles, with sponsorship encouraged. The cost to enter is $25, which includes a t-shirt, water and refreshments. Participants can enter t-shirt size in the comment field when registering online. A group photo will be taken at the start of the walk.
Seeking to promote breast health while minimizing radiation and discomfort for women, family physician Andrew Lipton, owner of Narberth Family Medicine, added thermography to his already unique family practice in April 2011. “It was actually my wife’s influence. She told me she thought it was crazy to use yearly radiation on the breast when it is one of the contributors to developing cancer. We discovered thermography and felt it was a necessary addition to our practice,” says Lipton.