Radiation Therapy for Treatment of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cancer-related cause of death. According to WHO, lung cancer leads to 1.3 million deaths per year. Lung cancer is responsible for 17.8 per cent cancer deaths. Deaths from cancer are estimated to be around 12 million in 2030.

Lung cancer is caused due to abnormality of cell growth. Uncontrolled growth and proliferation of cells lead to damage of healthy cells. Among men, 80 per cent of lung cancer cases occur due to smoking. Lung cancer if detected at an early stage can be cured by surgery or radiation therapy. The common symptoms of lung cancer are chronic coughing, chest pain, fever, shortness of breath, recurrent pneumonia, loss of appetite, recurrent bronchitis, tiredness and fatigue.

Tobacco use is considered to be the most important risk factor for lung cancer. To prevent lung cancer, it is very important to quit smoking. Lung cancer if detected at an early stage can be treated by surgical resection. When cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, surgery is usually combined with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. In advanced stages of lung cancer, tumor spreads to other parts of the body via the blood stream. In such cases, chemotherapy along with radiotherapy may be used for the relief of symptoms. In radiation therapy, high-energy x-rays are used to kill rapidly dividing cancer cells.

Various Applications of Radiation Therapy are:

  • As primary treatment
  • To shrink the tumor before surgery
  • To eliminate cancer cells that remain in the treated area after surgery
  • For treatment of lung cancer that has spread to the brain or other areas of the body
When used as an initial treatment, radiotherapy may be given alone or combined with chemotherapy. This is an ideal treatment for patients who are not eligible for surgery. Nowadays, Stereotactic Body Radio Therapy is being used to track lung cancer along with its respiratory movement. In radiotherapy, the key idea is to give high doses of radiation to kill the rapidly dividing cancer cells without damaging the healthy cells.



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