Lung Cancer - Radiation As A Treatment Option

By: articlesub
Because of the advanced stages of some lung cancer, surgery is not an option. This depends on the location of the tumor/tumors or the overall health of the person. In these types of cases, an oncologist will most likely advocate radiotherapy for the treatment. Even though surgery may be an option, you may find the doctor suggesting this type of treatment either before surgery to help shrink the tumor or after the surgery to help eradicate any of the remaining cancerous cells.

Radiation therapy - what is it?
Radiotherapy - is high powered x-rays that are 'beamed' at the location of the cancer cells which in turn destroys the rapidly dividing cells. Unfortunately, during this process the radiotherapy kills off both the healthy cells as well as the cancerous cells in that location. However, there are methods of delivering the radiotherapy that will minimize the side effects on the healthy cells.

EBT - external beam therapy or radiotherapy, is a highly focused beam of radiation that is aimed directly at the edges of the tumor site. Due to the concentration, EBT minimizes the chance of damaging the healthy cells. EBT is delivered in 'fractions', i.e. short durations of radiation that are spread out over several weeks time. According to current studies, the best effects are achieved when there are more frequent, shorter fractions than in larger fractions spread out over a longer period of time. Talk with your doctor about which will be the best timing for you.

Often times this therapy will be used to alleviate symptoms even though it won't actually cure by itself. Doctors may prescribe radiotherapy before or after a surgery and is designed to shrink the tumor or make it less active. Doctors may suggest brachytherapy instead of using an external beam. Brachytherapy is a procedure which implants small radioactive seeds directly at the site of the cancer. Brachytherapy can open up blocked airways by reducing the size of the tumors blocking the bronchi or windpipe. Brachytherapy can also help stop bleeding in tumors.

Conformal radiation therapy is another type of therapy. With this therapy a CAT scan helps create a 3-D image of the tumor and shape the x-ray beams precisely to the size and shape of the tumor. When using conformal radiation therapy, the damage to the surrounding tissues is nearly eliminated completely. Intensity modulated radiation therapy can be fine tuned so that it only affects certain areas of the tumor. This form of precision therapy works with a CAT scan to target only the cancerous cells.

Any suspicion that the tumor may have spread, as is often the case with small cell, your oncologist will very likely suggest a course of chemotherapy either before, after or concurrently with radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is localized therefore the beam is focused directly at the cancerous cells. Using radiotherapy in conjunction with chemotherapy, will normally offer a better chance of clearing up the tumor completely and preventing a recurrence. Radiotherapy is rarely recommended as the sole treatment.
Cancer
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Cancer
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles