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Small Doses Of Radiation Can Help Certain Lung Cancer Patients

A new study published in the in the March 1, 2006 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society says that many patients with apparently// incurable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) survived for up to five years after being given small doses of radiation therapy meant to ease the symptoms of the cancer.

The study says that this group of patients appears to have a different variety of lung cancer that can be sufficiently cured with small doses of radiation. This explains why many people attribute miraculous cures to faith healing and other unconventional methods. Michael Mac Manus, M.D., a radiation oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues monitored the progress of 2337 patients, whose cancer was ruled incurable. All these patients had received small doses of radiation meant to be "palliative." It was found that 1.1 percent of these patients survived for five years or more with 18 patients actually achieving a complete cure. "Our data show that close to 1 percent of patients with NSCLC have prolonged survival with doses of palliative RT that would not normally be considered sufficient for long term disease control," the researchers concluded. They added that in future studies should document patient characteristics since "prospective identification of such patients could potentially profoundly influence treatment." NSCLC happens to be the most common form of lung cancer with a low survival rate of only 40 percent up to five years. However, if diagnosed early, this rate can reach up to 60 percent.

Original Article: "Unexpected Long-Term Survival after Low-Dose Palliative Radiotherapy for Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer," Michael P. Mac Manus, Jane P. Matthews, Morikatsu Wada, Andrew Wirth, Valentina Worotniuk, CANCER; Published Online: January 23, 2006 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.21704 ); Print Issue Date: March 1, 2006.

Contact: Amy Molnar
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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