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  • Treating Patients With Extensive Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

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    It’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and today we are focussing on some new developments in lung cancer research and treatment.

    Metastatic cancers are generally incurable by radiation therapy because such cancers are present throughout the body, and radiation cannot treat the entire body. Therefore, it would seem that for extensive stage (ES) small cell lung cancer (SCLC), a metastatic form of lung cancer, radiation therapy is a questionably effectual form of treatment.

    Extensive Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer Clinical Trial

    A clinical trial is taking place in Jacksonville, Florida at Integrated Community Oncology Network (ICON) to research whether radiation therapy can treat ES-SCLC. More specifically, the study is researching whether radiation therapy is effective in treating ES-SCLC by doing a comparison between how well radiation therapy applied to the brain works when administered with and without radiation therapy to other areas of the body.

    This trial studying radiation therapy’s effectiveness on ES-SCLC is a phase two interventional study that began recruiting patients and researching in March 2010, and is currently recruiting participants with extensive stage small cell lung cancer. Both male and female patients are welcome to participate in the trial as long as they are of age 18 and over. The study is taking place on the grounds of Integrated Community Oncology Network’s state-of-the-art campus, which provides all-inclusive cancer care to thousands of patients in Northern Florida.

    The medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, urologists and oncologic radiologists at ICON use state of the art treatments and perform comprehensive clinical research. ICON is one of the largest private practice oncologic entities in the United States, offering an online networking database for its patients. ICON’s staff prides itself on providing caring, thorough and multidisciplinary care to its patients.

    What is Radiation Therapy?

    Radiation therapy involves ionizing radiation to obliterate cancer cells from the body. This type of cancer treatment is effective in curing localized cancers as well as in preventing cancer recurrence. It controlls malignant cell growth by damaging the DNA of exposed cell tissue. Specialized radiation beams are used in order to target only malignant cells so as not to destroy healthy cells in the process. Radiation therapy is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy, done before, after and during chemotherapy, and is also sometimes done in conjunction with cancer removal surgery, immunotherapy and hormone therapy.

    Small Cell Lung Cancer

    Small cell lung cancer, otherwise known as small cell carcinoma, is a highly malignant type of cancer. Small cell lung cancer usually originates in the lung and occasionally in the prostate or cervix. The stage of the cancer’s development or severity is typically ascertained based on the whether or not the tumor in the lungs can be targeted within a single radiotherapy portal.

    Other factors that contribute to determining the stage of small cell lung cancer include whether or not there are metastases and whether or not the tumor is visibly restricted to the thorax. The two stages of small cell lung cancer are the limited stage (LS) and the extensive stage (ES). In treating limited stage small cell lung cancer, a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy is applied.