What is radiation therapy for lung cancer?
In this article, we discuss the different types of radiation treatment modalities for tumors. Radiation therapy for lung cancer uses high energy X-rays or gamma rays to kill tumor cells.
When is radiation therapy used in lung cancer?
Depending on the stage of lung cancer and several other factors, radiation works best:
- Firstly, in the case of limited-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), concurrent chemoradiation is an option. The radiation begins the first or second cycle of chemotherapy.
- Then, radiation after chemotherapy is for patients at the extensive stage of lung cancer, or for patients with limited-stage lung cancer who do not want chemotherapy and radiation together.
- Also, it is a preventative measure to the brain to stop cancer from spreading as in most cases of small cell lung cancer which is aggressive. Prophylactic cranial radiation is best for the limited stage of small cell lung cancer and in the extensive stage of small cell lung cancer.
- Finally, it is a palliative treatment to help relieve cancer symptoms.
How is radiation therapy administered?
The most common type of radiation is external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), which delivers radiation from outside the body and focuses it on the tumor. Besides that, newer techniques of external beam radiation therapy have evolved, and they are:
Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D CRT)
This form of radiation uses a unique type of computer program. It maps the exact location as well as the shape of the tumor.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
It is an advanced form of 3D therapy. This type of radiation uses an inverse planning program that helps in delivering the treatment with precision and accuracy. Regulation of the intensity stop the beams from harming nearby healthy tissues. Essential structures like the spinal cord require this therapy.