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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The North Alabama Medical Center has a new technique for treating breast cancer that is designed to help reduce the side effects of radiation therapy.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S. except for skin cancer. Breast cancer makes up about 30% of all new female cancers each year.

The instrument called the prone breast board allows women to lay on their stomachs comfortably during radiation therapy treatments. With traditional methods of therapy, radiation often affects the heart and lungs based on the cancer’s location. This can lead to heart disease and other conditions.

“We have about two million breast cancer survivors who can be at risk of radiation-related cardiovascular disease. Dr. Vic Liengswangwong, a radiation oncologist, told News 19.

Liengswangwong added this technique should almost completely negate that risk.

“With nearly all of our patients who receive radiation treatment in this position on the prone breast board, the dose to the heart and lungs is very, very small,” Liengswangwong said.

Not all patients are able to use this instrument, but it makes the process significantly safer for those who can. Liengswangwong called it a privilege to offer their patients this state-of-the-art technology.

For more information, you can read their full press release here.