Radiation Therapy For Lung Cancer

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For lung cancer patients not eligible to surgery because of various reasons such as underlying health problems, radiotherapy is another viable option.  It is normally done after imaging scans have pinpointed the exact locations of the tumor.  It is often done concurrently with chemotherapy and the regimen may differ from patient to patient.  It also often recommended for patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma for curative reasons.  It is almost exclusively done via external beam radiation or teletherapy where an external source of radiation is used and pointed at the affected specific part of the body and lasts for 30 minutes to two hours.

A new and increasingly popular procedure known as stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBT) may also be used. In this procedure, many beams of radiation are used and focused on the tumor. It is increasingly being recommended to lung cancer patients because of its ability to successfully destroy a tumor while minimizing the inadvertent injury to the surrounding healthy tissues.

Radiotherapy has unpleasant side effects including malaise, weakness and fatigue.  One undergoing radiation therapy may also have low white blood cell and platelet counts.  Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting may also be possible if the digestive organs are exposed to radiation.