All You Need To Know About Radiation Therapy For Early-Stage Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a very commonly occurring cancer. A report by WHO stated that 1.80 million people died in 2020 due to lung cancer, making it the most common reason behind cancer-related death. Lung cancer occurs due to abnormal multiplying and dividing of the lung cells. Lung cancer is of two types, small cell lung cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer.
Early lung cancer detection helps in treating it early and improving the patient’s prognosis. Radiation therapy for lung cancer is a common treatment approach when the cancer is in its early stages.
Let’s discuss more about radiation therapy for lung cancer in its early stages
What Is Radiation Therapy For Lung Cancer?
Radiation therapy is a treatment method where high-energy beams of X-rays or protons are focused on the cancer cells present in the lungs. due to the intensity of the beams, the cancer cells are destroyed.
Why Is Radiation Therapy Given In Early-Stage Lung Cancer?
Radiation therapy in early-stage lung cancer can be given for the following reasons,
- Radiation therapy can be given before lung cancer surgery to shrink the tumor
- It can also be given after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells that were missed during the surgery.
- Radiation therapy can be used as an individual treatment or at times in combination with chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells in patients whose cancer is too big to be removed surgically, if the patient is not fit enough for a surgical procedure or if the patient denies undergoing surgery.
Types Of Radiation Therapy
There are two types of radiation therapy used in the treatment of lung cancer. They are,
- External beam radiation therapy
- Internal beam radiation therapy
Radiation Therapy For Early-Stage Lung Cancer
Although surgery is the most effective treatment for early-stage lung cancer, it cannot be performed for all patients. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is a technique where radiation from a machine is focused onto the cancer cells, thereby destroying them.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is a type of external beam radiation therapy technique that is used in the treatment of early-stage lung cancer. SBRT is otherwise also called stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR).
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is used to give radiation therapy of high doses to the patient. This technique makes use of high-quality imaging techniques that help the doctor in looking at the tumor and thereby providing much-targeted radiation therapy.
Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is commonly given to early-stage lung cancer patients whose cancer is too big to be removed surgically, if the patient is not fit enough for a surgical procedure or if the patient denies undergoing a surgery. Certain studies have revealed that SBRT provides results similar to surgery and is just as effective.
Side Effects Of SBRT Radiation Therapy
Just like any treatment SBRT also has side effects. The various side effects of SBRT include the following,
- Excessive fatigue
- Swelling and redness at the site of radiation
Even though radiation therapy for lung cancer stage 1 is a good treatment option, it is extremely effective when the cancer is detected in its early stages. Hence periodic screening is advised in people who are at high risk and even in those who are not.
If you are going for radiation therapy treatment for lung cancer, then ensure you have any doubts you have to the doctor beforehand to avoid unwanted stress. Wear loose comfortable clothes. Avoid wearing jewelry, makeup, or contact lenses when going for the treatment session. Try breathing techniques to calm down.