New Treatment Helping Lung, Liver Cancer Patients - - The News for South Mississippi


New Treatment Helping Lung, Liver Cancer Patients

Larry Quinn loves spending time with his grandchildren. And he's thankful he's here to enjoy it. Last September, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and doctors gave him very little hope.

"I went to my surgeon. He said, 'Larry, there ain't nothing I can do. I can't operate on you. If I do, I gotta take 50 to 60 percent of your lung out. And with your lungs like they are, you wouldn't live.'"

But a breakthrough technology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando gave him an alternative to surgery. It's radiation that precisely targets tumors.

"This has really been the goal of lung cancer treatment with radiation over the past 20 years," Radiation Oncologist Dr. Alan Forbes said.

In the past, doctors had to radiate the area around tumors because they can move as patients breathe during treatment. that can lead to lung damage, breathing problems, and less successful treatment.

With the new technology, an x-ray identifies exactly where Larry's tumor is from a marker coil. Then a computer system processes the information and turns the radiation beam on and off based on how he's breathing.

"It's fantastic. It's at the point now someone comes in with stage one or two lung cancer, it's the only option," Forbes said.

Radiating a more specific area will allow doctors to use a higher dosage. For patients, that could mean a better chance at survival.

For Larry, that means spending more time loving the little things in life.

Doctors at the M. D. Anderson Center in Orlando have been using the technology since this past December. So far, they say they're the only ones in the world using it.

Liver cancer can also be treated with the new method.

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