Our Treatment Options | Phoenix CyberKnife Radiation & Oncology Center

Lung Cancer: Our Treatment Options


Phoenix Lung Cancer Treatment Options

Lung cancer is one of the most difficult types of cancer to treat, both because its symptoms often go unnoticed until later stages and because of the movement of the tumor inherent in treating lung cancer. But Phoenix CyberKnife & Radiation Oncology Center is uniquely qualified to effectively treat your lung cancer, giving you the best possible outcomes. With a variety of clinically-proven radiation technologies available, our board certified radiation oncologists are able to analyze your specific situation and choose treatment methods that will work best for you.

The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System offers one of the most effective lung cancer treatment options in Arizona. With its flexible, robotic arm, CyberKnife reaches around your body to attack your tumor from hundreds of angles. It’s so precise, it can track the movement of your tumor down to the submillimeter. CyberKnife, and the other radiation treatments we offer, can be used in conjunction with surgery or other cancer treatments.

Lung Tumors Treatments

The potential for lung cancer is usually diagnosed after symptoms occur and you have a physical exam and the doctor reviews your medical history. If then, your doctor thinks you may have lung cancer, he or she will likely order additional diagnostic screening to look for abnormal cell growth. Once you’ve been officially diagnosed with lung cancer, our radiation oncology experts will work with your oncologist, surgeon, and other medical team to determine your best treatment options based on a variety of important factors including:

  • The lung tumor size and location
  • What type of tumor you have (primary versus secondary lung tumors)
  • How aggressive your tumor is, based on the assigned grade give by your doctor
  • The potential side effects from various treatments
  • Past surgeries and treatments
  • Your age, current health condition and how likely you can withstand different treatments
  • Medications you currently take
  • Your personal preferences
  • What your quality of life would be like during and after treatment

Using our multi-disciplinary approach, you can take advantage of the advancements in non-surgical therapies and non-invasive treatment methods, as well as targeted therapies. Doctors can treat lung cancer using several different treatment methods, depending your medical team’s analysis:

  • Surgery (removing the tumor through surgical incision in the skull)
  • Chemotherapy (using a combination of drugs, given intravenously, to stop cancer cell growth)
  • Targeted therapy (using drugs that stop cancer from growing by targeting specific genes or proteins)
  • Radiation therapy (using high-energy waves such as x-rays, gamma rays or electron beams to kill or damage cancerous cells)
  • Hyperthermia (focuses on killing cancerous cells by exposing them to extremely high temperatures)

Arizona Radiation Treatment For Lung Cancer

Radiation therapy is often used to treat lung cancer, sometimes in conjunction with chemotherapy and surgery. When it comes to treating your lung cancer with radiation therapy, Phoenix CyberKnife and Radiation Oncology Center is your expert choice.

  • CyberKnife (Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, or SBRT,  also called Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy, or SABR) - Because they are attached to or in your lungs, lung tumors are always moving, and can move as much as two inches with every breath. Unlike ALL other treatment systems, the non-surgical and non-invasive CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System synchronizes with the movement of the tumor, continually verifying that it is precisely on target, delivering beams of high-dose radiation from all angles with pin-point precision. The unique combination of a flexible, robotic arm, the intelligent tumor tracking software and real time imaging track the smallest of movements and adjust radiation directly to the cancerous cells while you rest on a comfortable outpatient treatment center table. This focus minimizes the radiation exposure to healthy surrounding tissue and organs and limits some of the short and long-term side effects common with conventional treatments. Phoenix Cyberknife offers this advanced precision treatment tool at its comprehensive radiation oncology center. CyberKnife is the most recommended type of dedicated SBRT/SABR and in recent studies has proven more effective for early operable lung cancer than surgery. Much shorter than traditional radiation treatment, CyberKnife treatment is administered in only one to five days. If a patient and their lung tumor are not candidates for CyberKnife, or if the cancer is best treated with a combined approach of more than one treatment type, other external radiation treatments, Brachytherapy and Hyperthermia treatments offers additional advanced conventional methods of treatment at our Phoenix CyberKnife Center. Our dedicated team of cancer fighting professionals will determine which method of treatment(s) is best for you. Below are the additional methods and treatments we offer at our center along with CyberKnife stereotactic treatments.
  • External Radiation Treatment Options
    • 3D Conformal - This type of radiotherapy uses 3D images from the state-of-the-art TrueBeam STx with Novalis to plan treatment and to deliver a dose of radiation that projects at the best angles for your tumor, avoiding surrounding healthy structures. Usually CT and/or MRI images are used for mapping out the radiation plan. Higher doses of radiation can be sent to cancer cells while much lower doses are received by the healthy tissue. This technology has allowed great improvements in safely treating lung cancer as the use of multiple beams allows normal tissue such as the heart, spinal cord and normal lung to be spared from high radiation doses.
    • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)- This versatile radiation treatment is used to treat nearly every type of solid tumor. With IMRT, our Phoenix radiation oncologists program the IMRT to ‘paint’ radiation doses onto the tumor with pinpoint precision. Using 3-D scans of your body, the system beams radiation to the tumor from many different angles. At each angle, the dose or intensity of the radiation can be different, and the shape of the beam can be adjusted, based your treatment needs, shape of tumor, and surrounding structures. These adjustments enable the prescribed amount of radiation to be delivered to each part of the tumor, while minimizing exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
    • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) - Phoenix Cyberknife and Radiation Oncology Center houses the most advanced equipment including the IGRT which can track and capture your tumor using high-resolution, three-dimensional images as it moves or adjusts with every breath. During treatment, lung tumors can move up and down and side to side as you breath, as much as two inches in any direction. IGRT, also called Gated RapidArc, pinpoints exactly where your tumor is at any given time so that you can focus the treatment on only that area, leaving the rest of the surrounding tissue unharmed. With IGRT, innovative radiographic, fluoroscopic and cone-beam CT modes are combined with software that automatically repositions the radiation beam and adjusts as the patient moves. This enables clinicians to verify that treatments are completely in sync with respiration. Your initial CT scan can be updated using IGRT each time your visit to ensure your treatment is focused.
    • RapidArc Radiotherapy Technology or Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT) - Using the True Beam System with RapidArc, radiation oncologists can deliver treatments two to eight times faster than our other dynamic treatments and it increases precision. Unlike traditional IMRT that requires multiple rotations around the patient or makes repeated stops and starts to treat the tumor from different angles, this volumetric arc therapy delivers precice 3-D doses with a single 360° rotation of the machine, typically in less than two minutes. It uses your treatment planning algorithm to simultaneously change the rotation speed, the shape of the treatment aperture, and the delivery dose rate. The shape and position of the tumor are determined from computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) diagnostic studies. This permits improved dose sculpturing over 3-D conformal radiation therapy.
  • Internal Radiation Treatment
    • Brachytherapy (Endobronchial therapy) - This pain-free, extremely precise radiation therapy destroys lung cancer using an intense source of radiation delivered through temporarily-placed applicators implanted into the tumor site. It is delivered internally via a computer-controlled machine typically in two to ten convenient treatments. HDR minimizes the risk of common side effects due to its ability to focus the radiation directly on the cancerous cells. This also reduces the danger of radiation exposure to nearby vital structures like the heart. The radiation is delivered into the applicators through a wire or cable inserted into a catheter and then removed between treatments. Phoenix radiologists can vary the position of the wire and the length the radiation is administered to satisfy the shape and need of the cancer. Because of the high-dose rate and precision, HDR is often used as an alternative to surgery.

Hyperthermia (Thermal therapy or Thermotherapy)

This type of therapy is always used in conjunction with another type, usually radiation or chemotherapy. It focuses on killing cancerous cells by exposing them to extremely high temperatures. Research has proven that this can kill the cancer, even sometimes cells that radiation isn’t reaching, without harming healthy tissues. Hyperthermia may also make some cancer cells more susceptible to destruction from radiation. When hyperthermia and radiation are prescribed together, they are usually given within an hour of each other. Hyperthermia can also enhance the effects of certain anticancer drugs. Ask our Phoenix CyberKnife radiation oncologists about the different types of hyperthermia currently available for your treatment.

Don’t Wait To Call Phoenix CyberKnife!

Get the inside scoop on all of your lung cancer treatment options. Give our board certified radiation oncologists a call at (602) 441.3845 today for a free phone consultation. They’ll explain the variety of non-invasive treatment options available to you and how they work in detail. They’ll answer all of your questions and make sure you are comfortable with the treatment option(s) you select.

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