Radiotherapy Questions with the DIBH technique


I have been for my first meeting with the radiology oncologist today and have to return tomorrow for a CT scan and a radiotherapy simulation. They have told me I am suitable for the DIBH (Deep Inspirational Breath Holding - I think!) as it will help reduce the risk of heart damage (I am having my left breast zapped) - just wondering if anyone else has done this? The actual treatment will not start for another week or so.

Also - (apologies if you have read this on another forum) my complication is that I am based in China (currently ‘stuck’ in China due to Covid and Visa requirements) so all of my appointments and results are in Chinese (which are more or less translated) but the doctors do not always give me the kind of answers I am looking for or perhaps understand what I am asking. So, currently, I have not been given any advice about what to wear, whether I need to take any sort of cream with me or if I can even wear deodorant? When I go tomorrow the English speaker dr will not be there… so any advice gratefully appreciated!



I had radiotherapy in October on my left boob & used the DIBH technique 

The staff will walk you through the technique it is ok just focus on their instruction’s you will be fine 


Hi. I did this last year. I practised holding for 15 secs. (I told the Radiotherapists thats what I can do, so they know we all have different limits and they stop and start when you are ready).Its not like swimming under water, as we can exhale. I visualised how I breathed, (not inhaling too much, with arms over head) but enough that I could easily repeat, and then back to my picture, the shape of it, and making sure I can do this each time. 

Sometimes when we breathe we raise from the stomach, and that’s what I did. I made it a routine, as I new I would be anxious and teary.

I’m sure you will be fine. They said the treatment stops when we move. 

I also had part of a song in my head that I knew was 15 secs. 

Take care xx

Hi Sally,

Firstly a (((hug))) it must be so very difficult for you having to cope not only with your Breast Cancer diagnosis whilst abroad and being unable to return home immediately but trying to understand exactly what’s happening/being said due perhaps to both a language and cultural barrier. I

Like you I am having Radiotherapy to my left breast but also to Lymph nodes in my neck. I have had the DIBH technique rehearsed with me and basically I thought it was similar to holding your breath whilst attempting to swim from one end of the pool to the other, eg not that difficult as long as you start practising to get used to it.  During the various rehearsals I worked out I needed to count:  … One second; two second; three … etc until 17 seconds, this was basically the amount of time you have to hold your breath keeping your lungs fully inflated to act as a barrier to protect your heart from the radiation of the left side of your chest.  I was advised not to use any deodorants; hair removal cream or shave until after the final session of RT. I was also told not to use cream prior to Radiotherapy and if my skin felt sore, a bit like sunburn then the Radiographers would provide me with suitable cream. some people experience a feeling of fatigue as the week(s) of RT go by, so factor that in prior to Treatment.  I had 25 sessions years ago and found I lost my appetite, but liked some small tasty morsels to eat whilst on other days all I crackered a bit roll in bacon! How many sessions are you having?

Keep in touch and let us know how you are or send a private message to me.  Good luck!