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Radiation Therapy for Non- Small Lung Cancer

A general scope about the treatment of non-small lung cancer.

Decatur, Texas, July 13, 2020 – Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA and inhibiting their growth and multiplication ability.  Non-small lung cancer is a malignant disease whose cells form in the lung tissues. Healthy cells are affected during the radiation but can repair themselves, unlike cancer cells.

There are several types of non-small lung cancer. Every type has different kinds of cancer cells that grow and spread in various ways.  The types of non-small lung cancer are named depending on the type of cells they have and how the cells look under a microscope. For example, Squamous cell carcinoma is cancer that forms inside the lungs, in the thin, flat cell linings. Large cell carcinoma is one that begins in several types of large cells.

There are two types of radiotherapy: external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and internal radiation therapy (Brachytherapy).

External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)

This therapy focuses radiation from the outside of the body onto cancer. It’s often used to treat or prevent the spread of non-small lung cancer cells. Even though the procedure is much like getting an x-ray, its radiation therapy is more potent. This treatment varies depending on the type of EBRT and its purpose.

Latest EBRT techniques have been invented to accurately treat lung cancer while reducing the radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissues. They include:

  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy. It’s often used to treat early-stage lung cancer.  It’s also considered for tumors with limited spread to other body organs.
  • Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy(3D-CRT) – It uses specialized computers to locate the tumor’s location, in which radiation beams are shaped and focused at the tumor from several directions.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)– It’s a 3D therapy where the strength of the beams are adjusted to limit the dosage from reaching nearby tissues. It’s mostly used where tumors are near vital organs such as the spinal cord.

Internal Radiation Therapy (Brachytherapy)

This therapy is used to shrink tumors in the air paths to reduce symptoms. Through a bronchoscope, the doctor places small source radioactive material into cancer. It travels a short distance to limit its effects on nearby tissues. It’s removed after a short period and gets weaker after several weeks.

If you’re going to get radiation therapy, it’s important to enquire about the possible side effects.  Depending on the aim of radiation, common effects include fatigue, hair loss, loss of appetite and weight and nausea.

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