Photodynamic therapy and radiation - effective treatments for lung cancer
The treatments for lung cancer to be used for a patient are decided
upon taking several factors into account. Some of these factors include
the type of cancer (SCLC or NSCLC), the stage of the disease, the size and
location of the cancerous tumor, the extent of metastasis (the degree to
which the cancer has spread to other areas of the body), etc.
The overall health of the patient is another factor that is taken into
account when looking into treatments for lung cancer.
The objective of most treatment choices is to eliminate the disease or if
that is not possible, extend the span and quality of the patient's life as
much as possible. Some of the treatment options include conventional
surgery, radiation treatment, cryosurgery, chemotherapy and photodynamic
therapy (abbreviated PDT).
We will take a quick look at photodynamic therapy and radiation as
possible treatments for lung cancer.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
In this type of treatment, a special substance that is capable of being
absorbed by the body cells is used in conjunction with a laser. This
substance is injected into the bloodstream which allows it to spread to
the cells in the body.
The chemical used for lung cancer treatment has the property of removing
itself from normal cells quite quickly while lingering on in cancerous
lung cells. A special laser is focused onto the cancer cells - this laser
activates the substance. The result is that the cancer cells are destroyed
while normal cells are left relatively intact.
Photodynamic Therapy is very useful in cases where surgical removal of the
cancer is not possible. PDT can help relieve short breath caused by
blockages in the airways. It can also control internal bleeding. This is
one of the treatments for lung cancer used to provide relief from the
symptoms of the disease.
PDT is also useful when the tumors are very small or when the patient
cannot undergo some of the other conventional treatments for lung cancer.
High energy radiation can kill cancerous cells - that is the essence of
radiation therapy. Radiation treatment involves focusing radiation onto a
precise area that contains the cancer tumor. This results in the cancer
cells being killed.
In many cases, radiation is used along with surgical interventions.
Sometimes, even after surgery, the patient may still have some cancerous
cells within his lungs. Radiation can then be used to eliminate those
Radiation is also used to reduce the size of tumors prior to surgery. This
makes surgery easier and possibly more effective.
Radiation and chemotherapy are often used together, particularly in cases
where surgery is not possible. It is possible to reduce lung cancer
symptoms like shortness of breath through radiation, which can shrink
tumors and remove obstructive growths.
Radiation is generally applied using special machines. Some types of
treatments for lung cancer make use of radiation from a device that is
implanted within the body, at the site of the tumor. Such devices contain
radioactive material. This material comes into contact with the tumor and
Newer kinds of treatments for lung cancer are likely to become available
in the coming years, as the continued research efforts aimed at curbing
this disease yields results.