November is officially Lung Cancer Awareness Month.  The event started back in 1995 as Lung Cancer Awareness Day.  As the lung cancer community and the lung cancer movement grew, the awareness activities increased and the day matured into Lung Cancer Awareness Month.  During the month, people throughout the country come together to support the lung cancer community and raise awareness about the disease.

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs.  These abnormal cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue.  As they grow, the abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung, which provides oxygen to the body via the blood.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and accounts for about 27% of all cancer related deaths.  Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.  The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 221,200 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2015, with over 4,000 of those cases being diagnosed in South Carolina. 

At MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, one treatment option for lung cancer patients is stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) with the TrueBeam™ STx system. TrueBeam STx is a noninvasive outpatient stereotactic radiation therapy treatment with minimal to no side effects.  During the treatment, TrueBeam STx rotates around the patient to deliver hundreds of concentrated and precise beams of radiation to tumors and lesions in the lung.  TrueBeam STx combines advanced imaging and beam delivery to target tumors quickly and accurately, from nearly any angle.  Real-time imaging tools allow clinicians to see the tumor they are about to treat and respiratory gating makes it possible to synchronize beam delivery with the patient’s breathing.

In addition to patients receiving state-of-the-art TrueBeam STx treatment, lung cancer patients also benefit from the multidisciplinary team of specialists, including thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, nurses, dietitians, social workers and research specialists, that are a part of the Thoracic Cancer Program. The team members collaborate to make the patient's care more efficient and effective, reviews individual cases each week during Thoracic Tumor Board Meetings, makes treatment recommendations, and schedules appointments to accommodate the patient's comfort and convenience.  This multi- faceted approach and patient focus is what makes Hollings Cancer Center’s care unique.

For more information on Hollings Cancer Center’s Thoracic Cancer Program, please click here