22 May Understanding How Radiation Therapy Can Help Treat Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. It is a complex and challenging disease requiring a multidisciplinary treatment approach. Radiation therapy is a well-established and effective treatment option for lung cancer. It uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. In this article, we will discuss how radiation therapy works and how it treats lung cancer.
What Is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancer cells. It can be delivered externally or internally, depending on the type and location of the cancer. External beam radiation therapy is the most common type used for lung cancer treatment. It involves using a linear accelerator machine to deliver radiation beams to the tumor site. The treatment is usually given in daily doses over several weeks.
How Does Radiation Therapy Work?
Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA of cancer cells, which makes it difficult for them to grow and divide. It can also damage the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the tumor, leading to its shrinkage. Radiation can also affect normal cells, but they are more resilient and can repair themselves more efficiently than cancer cells.
Radiation therapy is often combined with other treatment modalities, such as surgery and chemotherapy. The combination of treatments is known as multimodal therapy and aims to improve the overall outcome of lung cancer treatment.
How Is Radiation Therapy Used to Treat Lung Cancer?
Radiation therapy can be used at different stages of lung cancer treatment. It can be used as the primary treatment for early-stage lung cancer or as a palliative treatment for advanced-stage lung cancer. Palliative radiation therapy relieves symptoms such as pain, bleeding, and breathing difficulties caused by the tumor.
Radiation therapy can also be used before or after surgery to improve the chances of cure. It is known as neoadjuvant radiation therapy before surgery and adjuvant radiation therapy after surgery. Neoadjuvant radiation therapy is used to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove surgically. Adjuvant radiation therapy is used to kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery.
Radiation therapy can also be combined with chemotherapy for advanced-stage lung cancer. The combination of treatments is known as chemoradiation therapy and aims to improve the chances of cure and prolong survival.
What Are the Side Effects of Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy can cause side effects that vary depending on the type and dose of radiation, the cancer’s location, and the patient’s overall health. The most common side effects of radiation therapy for lung cancer include fatigue, skin irritation, chest pain, cough, and difficulty swallowing. These side effects are usually temporary and improve after the completion of treatment.
Radiation therapy can also cause long-term side effects such as lung damage, heart damage, and secondary cancers. However, the risk of these side effects is relatively low, and the benefits of radiation therapy usually outweigh the risks.
Radiation therapy is a highly effective treatment option for lung cancer. It can be used at different stages of treatment and in combination with other treatment modalities to improve the chances of cure and prolong survival. While radiation therapy can cause side effects, they are usually temporary and manageable. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer, discussing all treatment options with your healthcare team to determine the best course of action is essential.
At CenterPoint Radiation Oncology, we offer state-of-the-art radiation therapies for lung cancer and other types of cancer. We understand how difficult it can be to receive a cancer diagnosis. That’s why we’re committed to providing world-class treatment to our patients. If you or a loved one is facing this difficult journey, we want you to know you have options. Our team, led by Dr. Morrell, is here to support you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you fight cancer.