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Tests at the University of Michigan Show Promise


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Timing is everything when treating fast-growing diseases like lung cancer. And one problem has been that long wait between the time a test is done and the time the results are in. The waiting until a treatment is over to know if it is working may be a thing of the past. And the results could lead to a better cure rate.

According to research being done at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, a PET scan given just a few weeks after a patient starts a treatment will show how well the patient is responding and give the doctors the option to switch treatments right away if necessary.

In the past, doctors would wait until treatment was over before doing a PET, or positron emission tomography, to see if the treatment was working. If it was not, they would try another, but precious time was lost. Now they feel that doing the test a few weeks after the treatment starts will give the doctors a chance to change any treatment that is not working, and possibly have a better chance for a cure. The tests were done on a small sample of patients, but the researchers feel that the results are still significant.

There was a reason why doctors hesitated to use the test before treatment was over. That reason was the fear that the radiation from the test might stimulate the normal lung tissue surrounding the tumor to take up glucose, which might obscure the PET image of the tumor. The test proved this was untrue.

They are going to continue with the test with a larger number of participants, to verify and substantiate the recent findings.

The next part of the process is to ascertain whether changing the treatment mid stream will actually lead to better control and better survival rates. If the studies turn out like expected, they predict this could lead to the whole new course of treatment for lung cancer patients.

Lung Cancer is one of the most deadly diseases. There is hardly a family in America that has not been touched by lung cancer at least once. There are about 213,380 people who will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year this year alone, and 160,390 people will die. These facts are from the American Cancer Society

Source University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center http://www.med.umich.edu/

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