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External Beam Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation therapy involves a series of daily radiation treatments targeting your lung tumor.

  • Radiation therapy treatments are delivered in a series of daily sessions. Each treatment itself is painless and will last less than 30 minutes, Monday through Friday, for several weeks.
  • 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) combines multiple radiation treatment fields to deliver precise doses of radiation to the lung tumor. Tailoring each of the radiation beams to accurately focus on the tumor targets the cancer while protecting nearby healthy tissue.
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is a form of 3D-CRT that modifies the radiation by varying the intensity of each radiation beam. This technique allows a precise adjustment of radiation doses to the tissues within the target area, possibly allowing a higher radiation dose to the tumor and keeping more radiation away from nearby normal tissues. IMRT is still being studied for lung cancer.
  • Your radiation oncologist may recommend applying radiation to the brain after successfully treating small cell lung cancer. Called prophylactic cranial irradiation, or PCI, this treatment is not recommended for all patients.