Lung cancer is now the most frequently treated disease at San Diego Radiosurgery, encompassing more than one-third of total treatments. The center has seen an increased number of lung cancer cases as a growing number of patients search for a cancer treatment option that has minimal impact on their daily routines.
Lung cancer is the nation’s second most common cancer diagnosis, and the American Cancer Society estimates more than 18,500 Californians will face a lung cancer diagnosis this year. While surgery to remove all or part of the affected lung is the most common treatment for lung cancer, patients unwilling or unable to undergo surgery typically turn to radiation therapy, though traditional radiation therapy may be too lengthy for some to endure.
Since opening in 2008, San Diego Radiosurgery has treated lung cancer patients in the area with a nonsurgical form of cancer treatment called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Using Novalis Tx® technology, tumors are treated with precisely targeted, high-dose radiation beams. The treatment requires no incision or sedation.
“Novalis Tx offers patients a new treatment option when facing a cancer diagnosis,” said Dr. Brian Volpp, medical director of San Diego Radiosurgery. “Lung cancer patients, including those with pre-existing conditions like emphysema, or with hard-to-reach tumors, can receive treatment with little to no interruption to their daily lives.”
San Diego Radiosurgery was one of the first in North America to treat a patient using the Novalis Tx radiosurgery platform with ExacTrac® adaptive gating, which enables doctors to adjust the radiation beam, compensating for patient movements, like breathing. Radiation exposure to healthy tissue is minimized. Tumors are treated in five or fewer sessions, compared to the 40 treatments typically required with traditional radiation therapy. Following treatment sessions, patients can immediately return to work and normal activity with few to no side effects.
“Numerous case studies and clinical trials have measured the effects of stereotactic body radiation therapy in treating tumors,” Dr. Volpp said. “Early results show this form of treatment can be effective in treating lung cancer.”
In addition to treating lung cancer, San Diego Radiosurgery treats malignant and benign tumors in many parts of the body, including the prostate, brain, spine, liver, pancreas, kidney, bone and orbit of the eye; blood vessel abnormalities such as arteriovenous malformations and trigeminal neuralgia, a rare nerve disorder.