Early Lung Cancer Survival Gets Boost from Radiation

People who are diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in its earliest stages may find their doctors strongly recommending radiation. A recent study showed significant improvements in survival rates for patients who underwent stereotactic body radiotherapy as part of their overall treatment plan.

The study in question involves data from 2001 to 2010. During that period, researchers found the four-year overall survival rate for stage I cancers jumped from just under 13 percent to nearly 29 percent when SBRT treatment was used. The lung cancer-specific survival rate increased from nearly 34 percent to just over 50 percent. The numbers were significantly higher than those witnessed in patients treated with conventional radiotherapy. The four-year survival lung cancer specific survival rate was 28 percent for standard radiation and just over 53 percent for those who were given SBRT.

Researchers say the study shows the strong benefits SBRT may have in preserving lives after early lung cancer detection. The findings of the study add to a growing body of evidence that favors the use of SBRT for early stage NSCLC patients.

Lung cancer is considered the leading cause of cancer death among both American women and men. It is estimated that some 220,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States this year alone. An estimated 155,000 people will die from this disease in the coming year.

Lung cancer is of particular concern for people who smoke or who have had a long history of smoking. Kicking the habit can dramatically lower risks. People who have a long history of smoking are urged to talk to their doctors about early screening. When lung cancer is caught in its earliest stages, the potential for positive outcomes rises. Those who are diagnosed with early stage NSCLC are urged to talk to their doctors about all treatment options. SBRT treatment may make a difference in some cases, as the study shows.

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