Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. These abnormal cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue. As they grow, the abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung, which provides oxygen to the body via the blood. Lung cancer accounts for about 27% of all cancer deaths and is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. According to the American Cancer Society’s 2018 Cancer Facts & Figures, over 15k new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in Texas this year.
Patients diagnosed with lung cancer are treated with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System at Austin CyberKnife. CyberKnife is a painless, noninvasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body. The treatment delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme precision and features a device that controls the width of the radiation beams the machine delivers during treatment, allowing our clinical experts to vary the beam size and treat a larger variety of tumors throughout the body. Before treatment, a radiation oncologist will determine whether the patient’s tumor may need implanted fiducial markers, tiny markers that inserted into the tumor to guide the CyberKnife system track the tumor during treatment. The patient will also be fitted with a custom body support pad, which will help him/her remain relaxed and still during treatment. To monitor breathing, the CyberKnife team will provide the patient with a comfortable LED-enhanced vest or shirt to wear during treatment. During treatment, the patient will lie still, relax, and breathe normally as the CyberKnife’s computer-controlled robotic arm moves around his/her body, delivering radiation directly to the tumor or lesion.
Benefits of using CyberKnife for lung cancer treatment
- There are numerous benefits of CyberKnife treatment, including:
- It’s noninvasive, meaning no incisions
- There is no anesthesia or hospitalization required
- It’s painless
- It’s completed in five or fewer outpatient treatment sessions
- There is little to no recovery time, allowing for an immediate return to daily activities
- There are minimal, if any, side effects
- Due to pinpoint precision of high-dose radiation delivery, there is minimal radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding a tumor
When cancer returns after a period of remission, it’s considered a recurrence. When non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has progressed or returned following an initial treatment with surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy, it is said to be recurrent or relapsed. A cancer recurrence happens because, in spite of the best efforts to rid you of your cancer, some cells from your cancer remained. These cancer cells may have been dormant for a period of time, but eventually they continued to multiply, resulting in the reappearance of the cancer. The CyberKnife System can treat patients that have previously had surgery, gone through radiation therapy, or are currently undergoing radiation therapy. In some cases, patients with recurrent lung tumors may have limited options. While a recurrent lung cancer diagnosis may cause feelings of shock and distress, patients can feel hopeful that there are options available to treat cancer that comes back in areas previously treated. It is important for the patient to remember to provide their physician with a complete medical history, so the physician can prescribe the appropriate treatment course.
Austin CyberKnife is located on I-35 near the Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas. Call 512-324-8060 or go to austincyberknife.com for more details.
Sponsored by Austin Cyberknife. Opinions expressed by guests on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.