Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is stereotactic radiation better than regular radiation?"
Are they the same? My father has lung cancer.
Lung cancer is unfortunately is a serious condition. However, in recent years there have been many new treatments for lung cancer. While we can discuss some general principles below, it is very important that you discuss this with a specialist in lung cancer (known as a medical oncologist). He or she can provide more information based on the specifics of your father's cancer. He or she may also refer you to a radiation oncologist -- a specialist in radiation -- if appropriate. In general, there are three fundamental treatments for any cancer -- (a) surgery -- to remove the tumor (b) chemotherapy -- medicines that selectively kill the cancer cells and (c) radiation -- energy waves that kill the cancer cells. Oncologists choose a combination of all, some or none of the above depending on a number of factors. These include the type of cancer (there is more than one type of lung cancer), the stage of the cancer (how advanced it is) and the state of the patient (what they can tolerate). Within radiation, the standard is external beam radiation -- where high energy rays are used to kill cells. Sterotactic radiation is a type of radiation where the energy is far more focused and specifically targeted to the area. Its hard to say which is better -- external beam covers more area so kills more cancer cells, but has more side effects. Your oncologist will need to factor in the cancer type and your father's condition before making a recommendation. Good luck!
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