Treatment for Cancer that Spreads to the Lung

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Experienced Physicians for Lung Metastases

Fox Chase Cancer Center's highly experienced team of physicians from all specialties offers accurate diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer that has spread to the lung. In these cases of metastases to the lung and pleura, breathing difficulties almost always result.

Common tumors that spread to the lungs include breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, sarcoma, thyroid cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer and bladder cancer, as well as neuroblastoma and Wilm's tumor. Almost all types of cancer have the potential to metastacize, or spread, to the lungs.

Innovative Treatment Options

When cancer spreads from one part of the body to the lung (lung metastases), it does so through the bloodstream. In these cases, detection will often require additional Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computerized Tomography (CT) scan imaging. Unless the cancer is isolated to the lung, surgery cannot effectively remove the cancer. Fox Chase Cancer Center oncologists generally treat these inoperable lung cancer patients with the latest chemotherapy or radiation treatments available.

Stereotactic radiotherapy

Stereotactic radiotherapy (also called radiosurgery) is a precise way to deliver high doses of radiation over a very short period of time (typically between 1 day and 2 weeks). This is a very common alternative to surgery for patients with metastases to the brain (cancer that spreads to the brain). Over the past several years, it has been used as an alternative to surgery for select patients with metastases to the lung (cancer that spreads to the lung).

This treatment requires very sophisticated technology using 4 dimensional treatment planning, CT localization prior to each treatment and respiratory gating for select patients. This treatment is currently being offered through a clinical trial at Fox Chase Cancer Center. It can be given in 4 treatments with minimal side effects with very good control rates in a select group of patients.

Improving Delivery of Radiation Therapy

The superDimensionBronchus helps radiation oncologists deliver radiation treatment more accurately. Precise treatment prevents damage to the surrounding lung tissue. This lung cancer treatment option will soon be available through a clinical trial at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Radiation therapy as palliative care for lung metastases

Radiation therapy is not commonly used to treat patients with metastases to the lung, but to offer palliative care (to relieve pain or open an airway to allow for easier breathing). Fox Chase Cancer Center's pulmonologists can open the airways by inserting a stent; using laser therapy to target the tumor if it is within the airway; or using brachytherapy if the tumor is blocking one of the airways. Brachytherapy is performed by inserting a thin tube, or catheter, which contains radioactive material for a limited amount of time.

Developing Innovative Treatments for Lung Metastases

Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center are internationally known for developing innovative lung cancer clinical trials to improve treatment for patients with metastases. Treatment is tailored depending on the primary tumor site (where the cancer originated).

Providing Comfort

Fox Chase palliative care specialists provide a variety of pain management tools for patients with lung cancer. Palliative care is designed to offer relief to patients with cancer through symptom management, as well as pain management. While a cure is not possible, our specialists provide comfort as well as the highest quality of life possible.

For more information about lung cancer treatment and prevention at Fox Chase Cancer Center to make an appointment, call 888-FOX-CHASE (1-888-369-2427).

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