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Radiation Treatment for Lung Cancer

At the Abramson Cancer Center radiation therapy for lung cancer is informed by compassion coupled with two decades of experience. The entire lung cancer team works to make sure your health, wishes and goals are an integral part of your care. We offer the full range of radiation therapies designed to treat you safely, quickly and with the least stress possible.

What Is Radiation Treatment for Lung Cancer?

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to destroy lung cancer cells. We treat lung cancer with external radiation, or external beam radiation.

External radiation comes from a machine outside the body (linear accelerator). The machine directs high-energy rays at the cancer and some normal surrounding tissue. It is the most often used radiation treatment.

Learn more about radiation therapy

Radiation for Lung Cancer at the Abramson Cancer Center: Our Approach

We understand that waiting to start treatment after diagnosis can be stressful. That's one reason why our multidisciplinary setup is so valuable. Our lung cancer specialists are in constant contact with each other to design the best treatment plan for you. And our oncology navigators quickly coordinate your appointments with all of them.

It’s our goal to get you:

  • Imaging studies within a day of you contacting us
  • A detailed diagnosis and personalized treatment plan within three days
  • Treatment, if needed, within two weeks

For your convenience, we offer many radiation therapy locations throughout the greater Philadelphia and South New Jersey regions. Our oncology-certified nurse navigator will help you get treatment at the Abramson Cancer Center location nearest you.

Radiation Simulation for Lung Cancer

Your doctors may recommend radiation therapy on its own or in combination with other treatments. To determine the best radiation treatment plan for you, you go through a process called radiation simulation. During radiation simulation:

  1. We take images of your body using a CT scanner and other imaging tools.
  2. Using these images, a computer system creates different radiation plans for the tumor. This process maps all possible treatment options and their predicted outcomes. It also personalizes your radiation treatment plan to your body dimensions, age, tumor size and other factors. Find out more about lung cancer diagnosis.

Watch What to Expect During Radiation Therapy at the Abramson Cancer Center

Why Choose Penn for Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer

Our radiation oncologists are experienced in all radiation therapy types. Their comprehensive knowledge and skills mean your treatment plan is based on the best technology for you — not what your doctor is most comfortable delivering.

You also benefit from:

  • Lung cancer expertise: You are treated by radiation oncologists and nurses who specialize in lung cancers. They use all their time, energy and knowledge to treat patients with lung cancer and are experts in planning and administering treatments.
  • Radiation oncology leaders: Our radiation oncologists have been treating lung cancer for two decades. Some were even among the first in the tri-state area to treat patients with stereotactic radiotherapy. Their expertise informs every decision about your care, leading to better outcomes.
  • Team-based care: Our multidisciplinary approach starts with regular meetings (tumor boards) among our radiation oncologists, other lung cancer specialists and related experts. Your care team continues to collaborate by reviewing imaging scans together, video chatting, texting and holding informal in-person meetings. This constant communication means no stone remains unturned throughout your treatment — and you have multiple experts weighing in on complex issues.
  • The latest radiation therapies: Technology moves quickly, so Penn Medicine physicists are constantly updating our treatment technologies. We offer the latest versions of the latest therapies, including stereotactic radiation and proton therapy. You can feel confident knowing you are getting treatment from the most advanced machines and algorithms available.
  • Personalized treatment: We take the time to know you: Which activities bring you the most joy? What are your reasons for living? Which side effects can you tolerate — and which ones are deal breakers? Knowing what makes you unique helps us maximize your quality of life throughout treatment.

Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer

Proton therapy is a highly precise form of radiation treatment that minimizes damage to healthy tissue and surrounding organs. Proton therapy has a lot of promise in lung cancer because it often develops near critical organs and structures. Their location makes these tumors difficult to treat.

Proton therapy decreases the potential for radiation toxicity overtime, making treatment safer. Read more about proton therapy.

Ted's Lung Cancer Journey

The location of Ted Fitzgerald's tumor made curative surgery impossible. So doctors recommended proton therapy instead. Four months after his last treatment, the cancer was gone. Read Ted's story.

Other Types of Radiation Used in Lung Cancer Treatment

Our comprehensive radiation therapy options include: