Thoracic (Lung) Oncology
Radiation Treatment for Lung Cancer
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 Oncology for Lung and Thoracic Cancers at Wake Forest Baptist Health
The Comprehensive Cancer Center is home to a world-renowned radiation oncology department, with recently updated facilities designed to provide the most advanced and cutting-edge therapies and to best serve the needs of our patients.
We are one of the busiest centers in North America for some of the most sophisticated radiation techniques available, including stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) and Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Our unique distinctions include:
- The only Cancer Center that trains professionals from around the world in how to use SBRT technology
- The only Leksell Center of Radiosurgery in North America, a distinction based on our extensive expertise using Gamma Knife SRS
- One of the few Cancer Centers in the country with dedicated PET-CT scanning for radiation planning and deliver
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.
Radiation Treatment for Lung Cancer
For early stage thoracic cancer, the Cancer Center often recommends:
Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT)
SBRT uses a combination of special equipment to position your body and deliver very high-powered radiation directly to cancer cells in the lungs, without significantly affecting surrounding healthy tissue. SBRT is more effective than other radiation techniques because it delivers higher doses of radiation in fewer sessions, and pinpoints the affected area more precisely.
Learn more about how we use advanced SBRT technology at the Cancer Center to treat lung cancer.
For more advanced cancer, we often recommend:
Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)
Gamma Knife SRS is one of the most advanced stereotactic radiosurgery (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.
Learn more about Gamma Knife radiosurgery at the Cancer Center.
Other radiation methods and tools we use include:
- Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)
This new technique uses three-dimensional imaging technology to allow radiation beams to surround your body in an arc. Benefits of this technique include faster and more precise delivery of radiation and fewer treatments.
- Four-dimensional imaging techniques
This method uses advanced imaging technology to target radiation at a tumor even as it moves within the chest.
- 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. We often use IMRT as a planning method, to help improve our ability to treat tumors while sparing healthy tissue.
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. This technique combines both technologies to allow your specialists to plan the best way for radiation therapy to access the affected area.
Radiation clinical trials at Wake Forest Baptist Health
We participate in a variety of local and national clinical trials that offer our patients new and advanced options that combine radiation techniques, including SBRT, with chemotherapy. See our clinical trials.