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Survival rate of inoperable lung cancer patients raises to 80% with a pioneering technique developed in Catalonia

The Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) has introduced a world pioneering technique which allows four out of five patients who cannot undergo surgery to survive the illness. This technique causes less after-effects than the traditional radiotherapy. Furthermore, statistics show that with the regular treatment, two thirds of these patients die. However, Ferran Gadea, the Head of the Radiotherapy and Oncology Service, says that the best option to cure a lung cancer is still to undergo the operation when possible.

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06 March 2013 08:37 PM

by

ACN / Laia Ros

Barcelona (ACN).-The Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) has recently introduced a world pioneering technique that increases the survival of patients with lung cancer who cannot undergo surgery. Statistics show that with the regular treatment, two thirds of these patients die. However, with the Extracranial Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SBRT), four out of five patients have survived.


The method consists of using an instrument that acts upon malformations with accuracy. The Head of the Radiotherapy and Oncology Service, Ferran Gadea, says that the margin of error is less than a millimetre.

Only three sessions needed

This technology allows for breathing movements to be controlled, and it takes three sessions to be completed. It brings with it fewer consequences to the patients than the classic radiotherapy, and it lasts much less: radiotherapy can need up to 30 sessions to be completed, and it cause ulcers and may provoke respiratory difficulties. The basic after effect is that patients feel \u201Cmore tired\u201D ten days after the intervention, according to Arturo Navarro, the leader of the research group.

Surgery, still the best option

Despite this, Gadea reiterated that the best option is still to be operated on, and that SBRT can only be performed on patients who cannot undergo surgery.

This technique is also applicable in other types of cancer, and it has started to spread among other centres in Catalonia. The initial investment that requires is higher than the classic methods, but its efficiency is greater and it allows for a saving in the long run, because the investment in each patient is lower.

The ICO, a respected centre at world level

The Catalan Institute of Oncology was created in 1995 by the Ministry of Health of the Government of Catalonia, and it works specifically in the field of cancer. It has received several awards and distinctions, like the \u201CGold Level\u201D distinction from the Global Network for Tobacco-free Health Care Services (ENSH). This is the highest international distinction for its fight against tobacco use.

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  • A patient ready for one of the sessions of the new treatment (by G. Sánchez)

  • A patient ready for one of the sessions of the new treatment (by G. Sánchez)