Thoracic (Lung Cancer) Oncology
Lung Cancer Treatment - Radiation
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to target cancer cells and destroy them. Your team of specialists will determine which kind of radiation therapy will be most effective for you, depending on how far your thoracic cancer has progressed, and whether it has spread to other parts of your body.
Radiation Treatment Options
For early stage lung cancer, we often recommend:
Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) - SBRT positions your body and delivers high-powered radiation directly to cancer cells in the lungs. This is done without significantly affecting surrounding healthy tissue. SBRT is more effective than other radiation techniques because it delivers higher doses of radiation in fewer sessions. It also pinpoints the affected area more precisely.
For more advanced cancer, we often recommend:
Gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) - Gamma knife SRS is one of the most advanced SRS techniques available. SRS primarily treats smaller tumors with well-defined edges. SRS positions your body so that high-powered radiation beams accurately pinpoint your tumor.
Other radiation methods and tools we use include:
Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) - This new technique uses three-dimensional imaging that allows radiation beams to surround your body in an arc. Benefits are faster and more precise delivery of radiation and fewer treatments.
Four-dimensional imaging techniques - This method uses advanced imaging technology to precisely target radiation at a tumor even as you breathe.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) - This technique aims hundreds of radiation beams of different intensities at all angles of a tumor. Radiation beams can change shape and even bend around a tumor during this procedure. This results in higher accuracy and effectiveness.
PET-CT imaging - Positron emission tomography (PET) uses advanced imaging tools to show how an affected area or organ is functioning. Computed tomography (CT) uses high-powered computers and X-ray technology to create a detailed image of your affected organ. PET-CT imaging combines both technologies to help your specialists create the best radiation therapy for your condition.
Radiation Oncology ACR Accreditation
The Radiation Oncology Department has been awarded a three-year accreditation (through 2016) by the American College of Radiology (ACR), the nation's oldest and most widely-accepted radiation oncology accrediting body. It is awarded only to facilities meeting specific guidelines and standards developed by ACR after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified radiation oncologists and medical physicists who are experts in the field.
Are There Any Radiation Clinical Trials?
We participate in a variety of local and national clinical trials at Wake Forest Baptist Health that offer our patients new and advanced options that combine radiation techniques, including SBRT, with chemotherapy. See our clinical trials.