The usual treatment for early stage lung cancer is to remove the cancer with surgery. However, when patients have other serious health problems like emphysema, diabetes, or heart disease, they may not be able to have the standard surgery.
Patients who cannot have surgery usually receive radiation therapy. Standard radiation therapy involves several weeks of daily treatment sessions. While this therapy is sometimes successful at killing the cancer, it is not as effective as surgery and may seriously damage normal surrounding lung tissue.
A newer treatment technique, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), has been developed and used for patients with metastases to the lungs. Metastases are cancerous tumors that have spread from one organ to another.
This newer treatment gives higher doses of radiation less often than standard radiation. It uses special equipment to position the patient and guide focused beams toward the cancer and away from normal surrounding lung tissue. The higher dose technique may work better to kill cancer cells with fewer side effects than standard radiation therapy.
The purpose of this study is to use SBRT in patients with early stage lung cancer and find out what effects (good and bad) SBRT has on you and your cancer. This research is being done because SBRT has not been used very often in patients with early stage lung cancer or in patients with other serious health problems. In addition, this study also will gather information about your health and hospitalization history. This information will be used to find out if there are any factors that can help predict recovery or outcome of patients with lung cancer.