What is radiation therapy for lung cancer?
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. We use the these radiotherapy approaches to lung cancer:
External Beam Radiotherapy: This is the most common type of radiation therapy for lung cancer. The radiation comes from a large machine outside your body. Most patients come to our facility five days a week for several weeks.
Internal Radiotherapy: Also known as brachytherapy. Internal radiation is seldom used for people with lung cancer. The radiation comes from a seed, wire, or another device put inside the body.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is an important option for lung cancer patients at Roswell Park. With SBRT, patients receive higher and more effective radiation doses, but in fewer sessions, as few as one to three treatments.
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Roswell Park leads the way: How SBRT Works
With SBRT, radiation is directed to the tumor with unprecedented precision, sparing surrounding healthy tissue. A cone-beam CT scan pinpoints the tumor, tracking how it moves as the patient breathes. Abdominal compression devices limit tumor movement as the radiation is delivered.
Advantages of SBRT
SBRT offers an effective treatment option for patients who cannot undergo surgery. Other advantages include:
- Sparing healthy lung tissue
- Delivers higher-than-standard radiation doses directly to the tumor
- Exceptional safety
- Minimal or no side effects
- Shorter treatment period
SBRT is becoming the preferred treatment for early-stage, non-small cell lung cancer in patients who cannot tolerate surgery. Compared to the traditional radiation approach, SBRT reduces toxicity and increases patient convenience by replacing 30-35 treatments with just one treatment. For more than 95 percent of those patients, the tumor never grows back.
The Roswell Park advantage
Roswell Park is at the forefront of using Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) for lung cancer patients and our physicians serve on the expert panels that set the treatment guidelines used by radiation oncologist across the nation. Our experience, expertise and position as an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center allow us to offer SBRT options unavailable from other providers, such as:
Single Treatment Session. Delivering the entire radiation dose in one treatment (called a single fraction) may be possible for some patients. Because we are able to target the radiation so precisely, at only the tumor, a higher and more effective dose can be delivered at one time.
Clinical Trials that offer the latest approaches for treatment and reducing side effects.