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Radiation offers perk in lung cancer

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http://www.upi.com/HealthBusiness/view. ... 0003-4656r

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., June 12 (UPI) -- A new study in lung-cancer patients suggests that surgery plus radiation increases long-term survival.

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center conducted an analysis of 7,000 patients, with results that they say highlight the need to "reconsider radiation therapy's role" in treating lung cancer.

"Post-operative radiation therapy has failed to demonstrate a survival benefit in the past, likely because previous studies used older equipment," said Brian Lally, a radiation oncologist at Wake Forest and lead author of the study. "Our study, which examines the results using modern equipment, shows survival benefit in select patients."

The study -- using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Database (SEER), representing 26 percent of the U.S. population -- found that, in patients whose disease had spread to the lymph nodes between the lungs, survival at five years was 27 percent in patients receiving surgery plus radiation therapy, compared to 20 percent in patients who had surgery alone.

"Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in this country and even with the best therapy, survival is poor; so an increase of this level can be considered significant," Lally said. "I speculate that the improvement in the technology available to deliver radiation therapy is responsible for this increase," he added.

The new findings were published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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