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May 9, 2005

Three Dimensional Conformal Radiation therapy for Lung Cancer: a Brief Discussion of Potential Side Effects and Management

Topics: Medical Reference and Resources

Here's a very interesting and informative article found at CancerNews.com that has great graphics of CT and PET images. It's must reading for patients and those interested 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy in which multiple fields of radiation are shaped to treat a lung tumor. But conformational radiotherapy is also used in treating other types of tumors and should be interesting to other patients anticipating or undergoing radiation as well. Health and tech-enthusiasts will enjoy it just for it's educational aspects.

Lung cancer is among the most common malignancies for men and women in the United States. Despite the use of multiple modalities of treatment including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the 5 year survival is less than 15%, but I personally know lung cancer survivors of ten years. Radiation therapy is widely used in patients who have locally advanced disease, as well as in patients who are medically inoperable. Radiation can also be given to relieve symptoms such as pain or coughing up blood and to open airways obstructed by tumors. Many lung cancer patients will undergo radiation at some point during their treatment.

For non-small cell lung cancer patients, 64.3%. 4.7% will require radiation therapy at least once during the disease course (1). This informative article intended for both physicians and interested patients, describes radiation treatment technique and addresses the potential short and long term side effects of lung radiation.

Here are some descriptions of some of the images you'll find in the article:

Multiple radiation beams are used to deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor while minimizing the dose to normal tissue. Planning begins with a computed tomography (CT) simulation in which a patient undergoes CT scan in the same position that he or she will be in for treatment. The CT images are used to localize the tumor as well as normal lung and create a 3D representation of tumor volume and normal structures. The dose of radiation to each of these structures can then be planned and modified. Functional imaging modalities such as positron computed tomography (PET) can be used to define areas that are affected by cancer (2). Figure 2 and 3 show comparisons of a PET and CT image. PET shows areas that are uptaking the compound fluorodeoxyglugose (FDG), indicating metabolic activity. These active areas are more likely to be tumor than areas that use less FDG. Figure 2 shows an example of PET differentiating the tumor from collapsed normal lung, while Figure 3 shows that PET detects an active lymph node in mediastinum which is not remarkable on CT.
Read the article ...

(Article authored by Shaneli Fernando MD, and Feng-Ming Kong MD, PhD.)

Cross posted at Hyscience

Posted by Richard at May 9, 2005 11:59 AM

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