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Novel Radiation Therapy to Treat Lung Cancer Used for the First Time in United States, at New York Hospital Queens
Date:12/17/2009

FLUSHING, N.Y., Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A 58-year-old man who lives in Corona, Queens came to the emergency room of New York Hospital Queens (NYHQ) with extreme pain and tingling in his left arm. Although he did not realize it at the time, he had lung cancer. Recently, he made medical history as the first patient in the United States to be treated for lung cancer through the use of radioactive pellets placed directly in the tumor, and today his recovery is going well. Known as brachytherapy, this treatment approach is commonly used to treat prostate cancer.

"Although the patient came in because of pain in his arm, it was not due to an injury. It was discovered that the cause was a Pancoast tumor, a tumor in the lungs that affects the arms and shoulders but rarely causes symptoms, such as cough or shortness of breath, typically associated with the lungs," according to Dattatreyudu Nori, M.D., chairman, Radiation Oncology.

The patient was treated with high dose chemotherapy and then underwent treatment with external beam radiation. Although he did have some positive response, the tumor was still present. Because of the location of the tumor, the NYHQ physicians knew that additional conventional treatment could endanger surrounding critical structures including nerves and vessels, and could affect the other organs of his body.

With the options becoming limited, Dr. Nori, along with colleague Paul C. Lee, M.D., the hospital's vice chairman of cardiothoracic surgery, decided to perform a surgical resection of the tumor and then implanted the tumor bed with radioactive Cesium 131 pellets -- in a new type of brachytherapy procedure. Brachytherapy involves the implantation of radioactive seeds into the tumor site to kill the remaining cancer cells after surgical resection, while limiting the damage to healthy tissue. Brachytherapy has been successful in treating prostate cancer, but had never been used t
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SOURCE New York Hospital Queens
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