Trilogy™ Radiation Therapy Pinpoints Lung Tumors
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At Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, lung cancer treatments are state-of-the-art.
Trilogy not only enables oncologists to deliver enough radiation to a tumor to eliminate it, but it also allows them to minimize the amount of healthy tissue exposed to the beam. Trilogy makes treatment times shorter, which is more comfortable for patients. Its precision is unmatched, and it can be used to treat a wide variety of cancers, including NSCLC.
Consider these facts: Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer. It is the leading cause of cancer death in both women and men worldwide, and it has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in women.1 About 49 percent of patients diagnosed at a very early stage survive for five years or longer, while only two percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to other areas of their body are living five years after the diagnosis.2
Now consider that of advanced stage non-small cell (NSC) lung cancer patients who were treated at a Cancer Treatment Centers of America® hospital between 2000 and 2005, about 37 percent were living one year after diagnosis compared to only about 21 percent of similar advanced stage NSC lung cancer patients represented in the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.3
During the same time period, about 24 percent of CTCA patients with advanced NSC lung cancer were living 1.5 years after diagnosis as compared to only about 13 percent of similar patients represented in the SEER.
Trilogy™Radiation Therapy Pinpoints Lung Tumors
More than half of treated non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) are treated with radiation therapy. Radiation kills cancer cells and shrinks tumors by damaging the DNA in the cells, which causes the cancer cells to die or stop dividing. Though healthy cells can repair the damage caused by radiation better than cancer cells can, radiation can affect them as well – and, obviously, not for the better.
Finding new and innovative ways to effectively irradiate tumors with as little damage to surrounding normal tissue as possible is an ongoing goal in cancer research. And, to stay on the leading edge of treatment,medical centers continually invest in new technology and machinery as they become available. Cancer Treatment Centers of America is no exception.
“We use the latest technologies to customize radiation therapy to each patient’s situation,” says Bernard Eden,MD, radiation oncologist and director of the Radiation Oncology Department at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, IL. “We are able to provide late stage lung cancer patients with multiple treatment options.”
In fact, CTCA offers 11 different radiation technologies at four regional medical centers that range from traditional external beam radiation therapy to the newest TrilogyTM linear accelerator. According to Varian Medical Systems, the developer and marketer of the linear accelerator, Trilogy combines highly precise image-guidance technology with one of the most powerful, pinpoint radiation beams available.
“With Trilogy, we can shorten cancer treatment times and target tumors more precisely,” says Dr. Eden. “We’re very excited about having this machine and we think it will help our patients tremendously.”
Trilogy was introduced to the medical community in 2004. Trilogy not only enables oncologists to deliver enough radiation to a tumor to eliminate it, but it also allows them to minimize the amount of healthy tissue exposed to the beam. Trilogy makes treatment times shorter, which is more comfortable for patients. Its precision is unmatched, and it can be used to treat a wide variety of cancers, including NSCLC.
To treat NSCLC, our radiation oncologists create 3D simulations of the tumor’s range of motion while the patient is breathing. They then use the simulation to create a margin around the tumor based on how much and where the tumor moves as the patient breathes. Staying within the predetermined margin, they then irradiate the tumor from several different directions in a pattern that matches its unique shape. Because exposure to surrounding tissues and organs is minimized, Trilogy can deliver higher doses of radiation.
“Every physician hopes to see cancer become a manageable disease,” says Dr. Eden. “This is particularly the case with lung cancer.With Trilogy, we can target the tumor with the most powerful radiation beam possible with less harm to surrounding healthy tissue.”
Trilogy enables oncologists to use such a powerful and tightly focused radiation beam that the treatment is called radiosurgery instead of radiation therapy. “Radiosurgery requires extreme precision in targeting the beam to the tumor shape and location,”Dr. Eden says. “The Trilogy machine has a more tightly focused beam and can deliver doses more than 60 percent faster than conventional accelerators.”
Because of its speed and pinpoint accuracy, Trilogy can help enhance patient comfort during treatment, particularly those who are elderly, fragile or in pain. It also enables physicians to treat lung and other cancers at an earlier stage and it provides a noninvasive alternative to traditional surgery, which can also improve patients’ quality of life.
CTCA Lung Cancer Patients Report on Quality of Life
CTCA incorporates quality of life measurements into its routine clinical program.We track each patient’s ability to perform the basic activities of daily living.We ask how satisfied they are with their lives, and we evaluate their overall sense of well-being.The knowledge we gain enables our care teams to monitor and address specific cancer related symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, and pain.
CTCA assesses patient quality of life before and during their treatment. One study conducted at CTCA monitored the quality of life of 474 lung cancer patients who were treated at CTCA between January 2001 and December 2008.The results showed that during their first three months of treatment, these patients maintained their quality of life and experienced close to“normal” levels of physical health and levels of emotional well-being within the “normal” range.
CTCA invites each patient to participate in quality of life assessments both before and during treatment.We use the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ-C30),which is one of the most reliable quality of life questionnaires in cancer research.
3 Both the CTCA and SEER patients had been diagnosed with advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer at a similar time. CTCA patient results are based on a sample of 346 advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer patients.