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Surviving lung cancer
Date:3/4/2009

Countless people have heard the phrase, "You have lung cancer," but only 50 can say they've completed a new treatment at Temple University that doubles their chances of surviving the deadly disease and without the conventional radiation regimen or surgery. Doctors in the Radiation Oncology Department say the technique, stereotactic body radiotherapy, or SBRT, not only improves a person's odds of surviving early stage lung cancer, but may reduce the need for future surgeries.

"This is a big trend in radiation oncology for early stage lung cancer patients who either can't undergo surgery or refuse it," says Curtis Miyamoto, M.D., chair and professor of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the School of Medicine. "With the success of this technique, we're now questioning whether we'll even be doing surgeries on these patients in the future."

Treating lung cancer with conventional radiation is a burdensome process. Patients receive radiation therapy, which kills the cancerous cells and shrinks tumors, five days a week for six to seven weeks. The travel alone can be a hardship for patients not living in the city.

In contrast, SBRT requires only three to eight treatments, not 35. Once malignancy is confirmed through a PET CT scan or biopsy, treatments can begin. Patients are placed in an immobilizing body frame to reduce movement so that doctors can focus radiation on the tumor while reducing exposure of healthy tissue. Although both traditional treatments and SBRT methods involve radiation, SBRT administers large, highly precise doses instead of multiple smaller doses.

But perhaps the most important advantage of SBRT is its effectiveness: Patients who refuse or cannot receive conventional treatments for their lung cancer face a median survival range of nine months. For those who undergo SBRT, the median survival range is more than 32 months. And depending on the size and seriousness of the tumor, the two-year disease free survival,
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Contact: Megan Chiplock
chiplock@temple.edu
215-707-1731
Temple University
Source:Eurekalert  

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