Treatment From Your Local Palmer Oncologists
Battling lung cancer can sometimes take multiple treatment options. That is what you will find at Mat-Su Valley Comprehensive Cancer Center in Palmer. When lung cancer is caught early, our cancer center offers treatments like the TrueBeam, a stereotactic body radiation therapy, that can be used as a primary treatment to target, track, and eradicate tumors without surgery. In many cases, lung cancer is diagnosed in later stages. For those cases, our cancer treatment facility can offer several options, working in conjunction with other treatments such as surgery. We can also treat patients who have already had some other type of radiation or patients who have had lung cancer recur. Our highly-trained and experienced oncologists will work with your medical team to create a treatment plan that will give you the best hope against whatever type of lung cancer you have at any stage.
Lung Cancer Signs & Symptoms
As with all cancers, early detection is critical. Unfortunately, because of the sometimes normality of the symptoms, most lung cancer is not detected until later stages, often after it has metastasized. Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in the United States. More people die of lung cancer each year than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Some of the most common symptoms of lung cancer include:
- A persistent cough or one that gets worse.
- Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm).
- Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing.
- Weight loss and loss of appetite.
- Shortness of breath.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that do not go away or keep coming back.
- New onset of wheezing.
Lung Cancer Diagnosis
If you have symptoms of lung cancer, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Your doctor will recommend appropriate diagnostic tests to determine if cancer is present in your lungs, or the rest of your body. For your convenience, we have a high-quality imaging center right next store that can complete the tests required for an accurate diagnosis. This cooperative effort will help expedite your treatment plan compilation. Some of the tests that may be conducted to determine if you have lung cancer include:
- Chest X-Ray: This is usually the first diagnostic test completed if your doctor suspects you have lung cancer. This simple X-ray can be performed at your doctor’s office, hospital, or imaging center.
- CT Scan: To define suspect areas from the chest X-ray, your doctor may order a CT scan where a machine uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the lung. These images could reveal lesions that are not visible with a standard X-ray.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): For this test, a magnetic field of radio waves are used to create detailed images. It is often used for scans of the brain or spinal cord to find out if the lung cancer has spread.
- PET Scan: PET scans use a radioactive substance that accumulates on the cancerous cells and then a special camera takes images of the radioactivity. This is especially helpful for early-stage lung cancer and can show if the cancerous cells have spread.
- Biopsy: If the imaging reports show that you have a potential tumor, your doctor may order a biopsy where a sample of the tissue from the cancerous mass is collected and then tested to find out if it is benign or malignant.
- Sputum Cytology: Looking at the sputum that you cough up under the microscope might reveal If you have a cough and are producing sputum, looking at the sputum under the microscope can sometimes reveal the existence of lung cancer cells.
Lung Cancer Radiation Treatment Options
Mat-Su Valley Comprehensive Cancer Center offers a range of both external and internal radiation therapy treatments for your lung cancer. Our expert oncologists will evaluate your specific type and stage of lung cancer and choose from the available treatments to create a plan giving you the best possible outcomes. Radiation therapy for lung cancer may include:
- 3D Conformal Radiotherapy: This type of external radiotherapy uses 3D images and advanced computer software to plan treatment and to deliver a dose of radiation that projects at the best angles for your lung tumor while minimizing exposure of surrounding healthy tissues and organs.
- Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT/SABR): Also known as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), TrueBeam can be utilized to successfully treat your lung cancer. One of our most advanced treatments for dealing with many forms of lung cancer is utilizing TrueBeam’s non-invasive radiation therapy. The TrueBeam system will target your tumor with precise accuracy, requiring typically two to five short sessions. The treatment is pain-free and designed to minimize any side effects.
- Proton Therapy: This advanced type of external radiation therapy uses a controlled beam of protons to target and destroy tumors with unprecedented accuracy. Unlike other forms of radiation, the protons travel through the body with a low radiation dose. When they arrive at the tumor, they match its shape and volume and then drop the high dose of radiation right into the cancerous cells.
- High Dose Rate Brachytherapy (HDR): This extremely precise internal radiation therapy uses 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. It is pain-free and minimizes the risk of common side effects.
- CyberKnife (SBRT/SABR): Located at Alaska CyberKnife Center in Anchorage, this is the first and only dedicated stereotactic system that synchronizes with the movement of the tumor in motion during treatment. Depending on each patient and their cancer’s unique condition, our physicians may speak to you about the benefits of CyberKnife versus our TrueBeam for your cancer treatment.
Use these links to find out more about lung cancer: