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Radiation May Improve Lung Cancer Survival Rates

Lung cancer is considered the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. With an estimated 221,000 new cases reported each year and some 158,000 deaths, this disease is a serious one that demands immediate intervention.

But, for those who are diagnosed later with stage II or stage III tumors, effective treatment can be difficult. Researchers are finding, however, that radiation after surgery may have strong impacts on survivability rates.
To arrive at those findings, researchers at the Yale School of Medicine, looked at the use of postoperative radiation therapy in patients with incompletely resected stage II or stage III non-small-cell lung cancer. They found the use of this additional therapy had positive impacts on survival rates. All told, 3,395 patients were included in the study. A total of 1,207 patients received post-operate radiation. Patient who did, researchers found, had a higher survival rate than those who did not.

The use of post-operate radiation for treatment of stage II and stage III cases has been on the decline over recent years, researchers noted. They say their findings show that it’s time to reevaluate this. Post-operative radiation may be a missing step that leads to greater survivability in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer that is in a later stage.

Lung cancer is a major concern in the United States and elsewhere. Often tied to smoking, this disease may be preventable in many cases. People who smoke are urged to kick the habit. Those who are considered long-term smokers may also decrease their mortality risks by not only quitting, but also by going in for routine screenings for the disease. Recent changes in testing protocols have greatly enhanced doctors’ abilities to detect and treat lung cancer in earlier, more survivable, stages.

Those who are concerned about lung cancer risk are urged to speak with their healthcare providers. Personal physicians are best poised to determine individual risks and prescribe prevention and detection protocols.

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