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It is no longer possible for the practitioner to plan effective medical care for the patient with advanced lung cancer without a clear understanding of the indications, the rewards, and the risks for the use of radiation therapy and cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Sooner or later in the course of this formidable disease, the majority of patients will require effective palliative measures to relieve distressing symptoms, improve respiratory function, prolong the period of useful activity, and maintain the morale for as long as possible.
In our experience with more than 1,500 patients with inoperable lung cancer, radiation therapy was the best single agent for offering relief to the symptomatic individual with an advanced localized tumor, while chemical agents were very helpful adjuncts for the distressed patient with widely disseminated disease.1-5 They are employed when radiation therapy is not available, no longer feasible, or ineffective.
Radiation therapy and certain cancer-inhibiting drugs,
Roswit B. Palliation by Chemotherapy. JAMA. 1966;196(10):848-849. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100230092024