Jump to content

How many rads?


Recommended Posts

Just curious-how many rads did you or your loved one receive during lung radiation? I was so worried that they were treating my mom pallatively (is that a word?) since she did so well thru radiation, but the radiologist said she got lucky with her angles-they were trying to avoid her pacemaker and that ended up working out well for her as far as side effects went. I think he said he administered 5,000 rads.

As always, thanks!!!


Link to comment
Share on other sites


My Radiation Oncologist told me that the standard dose schedule for radiation treatment is between 6600 and 7000 rads....but we were discussing NSCLC, and not Small Cell. And the type of Lung Cancer we have determines with what we are treated. I've always heard that Small Cell is much more susceptible to both chemo and radiation. So maybe it doesn't require as much as NSCLC.

At any rate I hope your Mom continues to do very well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For preoperative radiation (given prior to planned surgery to remove the tumor) the typical dose is 4500 to 5000 rads. When radiation without surgery is being used (sometimes referred to as definitive radiation) the dose is usually 6000-6600 rads.

There is more research done on using newer radiation techniques to increase the dose of radiation without increasing risk. Conformal radiation uses a 3D computer model of the tumor to bring the fields in as tightly around the tumor as possible. Pretty much everyone should be using conformal XRT now (unless their equipment is way old). IMRT is a newer technique (intensity modulated radiotherapy) that actually delivers differing doses of radiation around the tumor focusing the highest doses in the tumor itself. It is much more costly and time-consuming but theoretically results in less damage to good tissues and more damage to the bad stuff.

The latest (shameless plug coming :D ) is respiratory gated IMRT. This not only builds a custom radiation field around the tumor but actually moves with you as you breath. One problem with using really precise radiation in the chest has always been that there is a margin of error due to the fact that we are shooting a target that moves slightly with each breath. Respiratory gating gets rid of this error by compensating for the movement with breathing allowing margins of 1 mm or less (or so our rad onc docs tell me). This should allow more intense treatment without increased toxicity. The future will be using this technique with intensive radiation to doses of 7500+. In phase I/II studies, this appears to have outstanding results with local control/recurrence rates better than usually seen. We just approved the (major!) purchase of this equipment and will have it online hopefully by January, we will be the first in the Mpls/St. Paul area to offer it (not even sure if Mayo has it yet.)

Anyways, more than you probably ever wanted to know about radiation doses.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the contrary, Joe, I am technophilic -- I am (was)authorized to order and use radioisotopes at NIH, where 5000 rads is generally considered a lifetime exposure and you better find some other way to experiment.!

I didn't realize that treatments were going as high as 6500 rads, nor was I aware of the modifications and improvement in the medical technology. Thanks for the heads up!

Now a desk jockey...


Prayers always,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.