Thursday, Jun 27, 2013
NEW YORK – In a survey of patients with terminal lung cancer, nearly two-thirds did not understand that radiation treatments intended only to ease their symptoms would not cure their disease.
Among the nationwide sample of patients with advanced lung cancers, four out of five thought the radiation would help them live longer and two in five believed it might cure their cancers.
“Radiation therapy can be used to relieve symptoms caused by metastatic lung cancer, such as pain from bony metastases, shortness of breath from lung tumours, or neurologic symptoms, such as weakness, from brain metastases,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Aileen Chen of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Patients with metastatic lung cancer usually live less than a year, she told Reuters Health, and their radiation treatments are intended to improve quality of life for the time that remains, so Chen was surprised that so many patients believed they would cure them.