SBRT May Improve Lung Cancer Survival in Elderly Patients

Helping elderly patients diagnosed with a certain type of lung cancer enjoy a longer survival rate might be possible with the use of stereotactic body radiation therapy, or SBRT for short. New researcher indicates this treatment commonly used in medically inoperable cases can also have a positive benefit on the elderly.

SBRT has been proven very helpful in treating elderly patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To arrive at these findings, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta conducted a study on patients age 70 or older. While the current protocol for patients age 70 or older with NSCLC is observation, SBRT showed strong results, researchers found.

The study involved a total of 3,147 patients all age 70 or older. The patients had been diagnosed with NSCLC. Out of the main group, 258 patients underwent SBRT treatments while another 2,889 patients received no treatment at all. The study showed that patients in the SBRT group had a 36 percent lower risk of death than patients who were not treated.

Lung cancer is a very serious disease that often leads to mortality. When patients are of more advanced age, doctors often seek to provide support care rather than expose patients to treatments that may present with severe side effects. Patients age 70 or older, however, may find that SBRT may offer them a ray of hope for leading a longer, fuller life, making potential risks worth the possible reward.

Patients of any age who are diagnosed with lung cancer are urged to carefully discuss all their treatment options with their healthcare providers. It is important to carefully weigh the potential rewards of treatment against the likely risks. The best course of action often centers entirely on the unique case, patient preference and the likelihood of a positive outcome.

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