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The Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, Spain has recently presented the results of a new technique for treating lung cancer, one of the most widespread cancers, especially in men.
It is ultra- precise radiotherapy, able to target a very high dose of radiation with maximum accuracy even in very small lung tumours, without damaging the surrounding healthy tissues.
The main advantage of this technique is that is synchronised with a patient’s breathing. The lung is normally very difficult to treat with radiotherapy because it moves when breathing.
“First of all, we have the advantage that the patient is not operated on. And then, instead of seven weeks continuously, the treatment is done in a few, short sessions, and it is over at the most in two weeks,” says the head of Oncology at Bellvitige hospital, Dr Ferran Guedea.
Scientists plan to use this technique in patients who cannot be treated surgically, because of their age or the increased risk caused by other pathologies.
“In the past, only 30 percent of the patients treated with conventional techniques gained an extra two years. Now we obtain a 70 to 80 percent survival rate,” said Dr Arturo Navarro.
The new technique has been tested on more than 70 patients since 2008 and the results seem encouraging.
“When they told him that he had this illness, then the doctor got to work, and now it is as if he never had anything,” said one delighted wife who had feared she was about to lose her husband.
Thanks to the encouraging results, scientists want to extend the technique to other types of cancers, such as liver, bone, or prostate tumours.