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Potent radiation therapy may improve survival rates of patients with inoperable lung cancer

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

A powerful form of radiation therapy that precisely targets tumors may improve the survival rate of patients with inoperable lung cancer, according to a new study.

Lead investigator Robert Timmerman, vice chairman of radiation oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and his colleagues monitored 55 patients who were recently diagnosed with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer and who could not undergo surgery due to other serious medical problems.

After treating each patient with SBRT during three outpatient procedures, the researchers found that fewer than 20 percent of patients experienced a serious health decline. Furthermore, nearly 56 percent of subjects who underwent the therapy were still alive three years after being treated, while fewer than 20 percent ultimately died of metastatic lung cancer.

"We believe these findings justify SBRT as a standard of care treatment for lung cancer in patients with serious medical problems like emphysema, heart disease and strokes," concluded Timmerman. "SBRT is fast, convenient and very effective."

However, several patients who underwent treatment experienced side effects, including painful swallowing rib fractures and chest-wall burns, Health Day News reports.

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