BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Shine a light raises lung cancer awareness while arranging public events to not only educate people on the risks of lung cancer but also to give survivors hope. Both aspects of the project are important as lung cancer is of great concern. It is less common only than prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
Smoking is a leading cause in lung cancer as well as exposure to asbestos. Also, lung cancer is the leading cause of death when it comes to men and women who suffer from cancer. Despite the odds not being in favor of the patient, it seems new treatments are emerging that could help improve the survival chances of patients diagnosed with the disease.
Dr. Jeffery Kovalic, a known radiation oncologist, is a key speaker for Shine a Light on Lung Cancer. The central message he wants to transmit to people suffering from lung cancer is that there is hope. On Thursday he spoke to the public about a new treatment known as the Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy.
He explains that in the past, when a patient was diagnosed with lung cancer, the main treatment involved a procedure called lobectomy which removed a lobe of the lung. According to Kovalic it was considered the “gold standard” treatment option, meaning that it was the most used option for patients with lung cancer.
But the new Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy offers a less invasive approach to treating the diseased section of the lung. The new technology allows doctors to focus the radiation to a small portion of the lung and eliminates the need for the surgical intervention. Not only that, but the new treatment reduces the amount of radiation treatments that are required drastically, from six to seven week originally to just three to five visits in total now.
The treatment is gaining more and more popularity and is close to being considered just as effective as the gold standard. The new technology boasts a four dimensional approach, in that it also takes into account movement.
Lungs are constantly moving so the SBRT limits movement by using a small abdominal restraint in order to only target the tumor and the area immediately surrounding it. This makes for very precise treatments. Instead of radiating the lung area, the doctors can now miss the heart, spinal cord and all the other organs they want to protect and target the tumor itself with a high dose of radiation in just three to five treatment sessions.
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