The Department of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center provides the highest-quality radiation treatment for all stages of lung cancer in a team-based cancer care setting.
Lung cancer cases fall into two major categories: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
- NSCLC makes up a majority of lung cancer cases. NSCLC tends to spread slowly to other parts of the body and may be hard to detect in the early stages.
- SCLC, also known as oat cell cancer, makes up the minority of lung cancer cases but is more aggressive in spreading throughout the body. SCLC is usually found in active or former cigarette smokers.
Types of Treatments
Radiation therapy treatments for lung cancer are carried out with leading-edge techniques, including:
- Combined-Modality Treatments
- Chemotherapy and surgery may be combined with radiotherapy to create the most optimal results for the patient.
- High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy
- Some tumors growing inside the air space of the lung can be treated with a radioactive source placed directly next to the tumor through a very small catheter threaded down the patient’s throat and into the lung. This procedure involves coordination with other UT Southwestern physicians in the interventional pulmonology program.
- Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
- Advanced onboard imaging systems attached to the treatment machines allow clinicians to verify the tumor location and reposition patients as needed between treatments.
- Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- State-of-the-art treatment allows doctors to use multiple radiation beams of varying lengths and intensity. The radiation beams may be moved dozens or hundreds of times during treatment, resulting in a radiation field that is “sculpted” in three dimensions. Rather than creating a uniform field of radiation, the radiation is delivered to precisely conform to the actual shape of the tumor, thus sparing surrounding healthy tissue.
- Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)
- Involves one or a few high-dose applications of radiation to a tumor, instead of the many smaller doses given in standard radiation treatment. Several radiation beams are precisely aimed at different angles to converge upon a small tumor.
Radiation Oncology’s affiliation with UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center means our radiation oncologists collaborate with medical oncologists and thoracic surgeons – working together with a team of social workers, nutritionists, and case coordinators – to offer a coordinated approach to patient care.
Our clinical trials program gives patients access to new, cutting-edge therapies often unavailable at other health care facilities.