Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women. For diagnosed lung cancer patients and families seeking insight and support, connecting with other patients and their loved ones can often be a valuable resource. Below are a few influential bloggers who have used their blog to become a voice for the lung cancer community.
Life and breath: outliving lung cancer – Linnea Duff, a 51-year-old mother of three, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer 6.5 years ago. She believes her blog has allowed her to be a voice for lung cancer and “the terminally optimistic.”
Stage IV – Jessica Rice was completely caught by surprise when she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer at the age of 30. As a non-smoker with no family history of illness, Jessica affirms, “nothing ‘caused’ my cancer.” Jessica uses her blog as a platform to fight the “stigma” of lung cancer as a smoker’s disease while advocating for funding and research.
Cancer in Context – As a reporter for Reuters, Debra Sherman has been writing about medical technology and healthcare for more than a decade. Prior to her diagnosis with Stage 4 lung cancer, she never imagined the countless hours of research and writing would ever apply to her. Now, Debra writes about the latest cancer research and treatment options from the unique perspective of a patient.
To find more lung cancer resources visit the American Lung Association’s website.
This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Oklahoma CyberKnife hopes to raise awareness of a noninvasive treatment option for the nation’s second-most common disease. The center has treated nearly 100 lung cancer patients using CyberKnife® technology this year.
Evolving treatment options have improved quality of life and survival rates, helping lung cancer patients to monitor the disease and take an active role in determining their treatment plan. Oklahoma CyberKnife treats lung tumors with an advanced procedure called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). During treatment, the CyberKnife delivers precisely targeted, high-dose radiation beams to the tumor from a variety of angles without incisions or sedation.
Removing all or part of a patient’s affected lung through surgery is the most common treatment for lung cancer, but CyberKnife provides an alternative for those unable or unwilling to undergo surgery. For example, those in poor general health or who have a concern for potential side effects that could impact quality of life typically turn to radiation therapy treatments like SBRT.
“As healthcare technology evolves, patients have more options than ever for effective treatments that work for their lifestyle,” said Oklahoma CyberKnife medical director Dr. Diane Heaton. “For patients who are appropriate candidates, CyberKnife can provide an effective nonsurgical alternative.”
CyberKnife treatment is completed in five or fewer sessions compared to the 40 treatments typically required with conventional radiation therapy. CyberKnife’s unique ability to track tumors during treatment allows the machine to make adjustments for normal patient movements like breathing, minimizing radiation exposure to healthy tissue. Patients typically return to their normal routines immediately following treatment.
Dr. Heaton recommends those concerned about a potential lung cancer diagnosis consider getting tested if they have a long-term history of smoking. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released a recommendation on CT lung cancer screenings for long-term smokers. Though pending finalization, the recommendation applies to current and heavy smokers between ages 55 and 79. To read more about the recommendation, view the draft for public comment.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated each November to raise awareness for the second most common cancer in both men and women. The American Cancer Society estimates 3,370 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in Oklahoma this year.
Below are a few ways to support the fight against lung cancer:
Oklahoma CyberKnife treats lung tumors with stereotactic body radiation therapy using CyberKnife® technology. Read more about the treatment here.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently released a recommendation in favor of CT lung cancer screening for long-term smokers.
Though still pending finalization, the recommendation applies to current and heavy smokers between 55 and 79 and could be a huge step in diagnosing high-risk patients sooner.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine. The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services and preventive medications.
Lung cancer is one of the most frequently treated diseases at Oklahoma CyberKnife. Click here to watch an overview of how our center treats lung cancer.
To read more about the recommendation, view the draft for public comment.
We were honored to host Congressman Jim Bridenstine at our center! Congressman Bridenstine toured our facility and learned more about our CyberKnife treatment process during a presentation given by our medical director, Dr. Diane Heaton.
We are looking forward to more visits from our community leaders in the future! To learn more about our center, view our presentations here.
TN is caused when a blood vessel compresses the fifth cranial nerve, one of the largest nerves in the head. Patients are unable to predict when a painful episode will occur, and pain can often be caused by everyday activities like chewing and swallowing.
Below are a few facts on the disorder and ways to support loved ones with TN:
Read more about how CyberKnife treats TN in our blog series.
At Oklahoma CyberKnife, medical physicists play a key role in the patient treatment process, working closely with other members of the treatment team to support imaging, treatment planning and quality assurance testing of our CyberKnife® technology and its components.
Our physics team develops a customized treatment plan that will deliver the radiation dose prescribed by each patient’s treating radiation oncologist. Using the CyberKnife treatment planning system, the physicist determines the angles and intensities of the CyberKnife radiation beams that will be delivered during treatment. This process directs the radiation dose precisely to the three-dimensional shape of the tumor being treated, minimizing radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. When treating areas near critical organs or structures, such as the spinal cord, sparing normal tissue is particularly important.
Here’s how you and your loved ones can participate in Prostate Cancer Awareness Month:
Learn how Oklahoma CyberKnife treats prostate cancer here.
Radiation therapists play an important role in patient care before and during CyberKnife® treatment. They act as a resource for patients to learn about CyberKnife treatment and in turn communicate patients’ needs and concerns to the treatment team. Under the direction of radiation oncologists, they operate the CyberKnife machine, which delivers highly focused radiation to tumors during treatment.
Before the procedure, radiation therapists educate patients about the treatment process and determine how a patient will be positioned during treatment sessions based on the treatment plan and on a patient’s comfort and physical condition. Most importantly, radiation therapists are focused on patient safety and are responsible for making sure safety procedures are followed, radiation dosage is correct and equipment is in proper working order before delivering treatment. Radiation therapists sometimes simulate a treatment to determine if it is appropriate for a specific case or if an alternative method should be pursued. Our radiation therapists undergo specialized training and board certification to operate CyberKnife equipment.
Metastatic cancer occurs when cancerous cells spread from a primary cancer site to other parts of the body. Despite spreading to another location within the body, the cancer is considered an extension of the original tumor. For example, lung cancer that spreads to the liver is considered metastatic lung cancer.
Metastatic cancers are difficult to monitor because they often cause symptoms common to other diseases, and it is not uncommon for the new tumors to be discovered while testing for a different condition.
When tumors stop growing and cancer cells break away to metastasize, they travel through the lymphatic vessels, blood vessels or, less commonly, along surfaces on the inside of the body cavity. Where a cancer originates can affect where it will spread. The bones, liver and lungs are the most common locations for tumors to metastasize.
Oklahoma CyberKnife treats certain metastases including those in the bone, brain and lung. For more information on metastatic disease, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.
Source: National Cancer Institute
*In alphabetical order.