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January 15, 1982

The Role of Radiation Therapy in Carcinoma of the Lung

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Radiation Oncology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

JAMA. 1982;247(3):338-340. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320280058032

IN 1977, cancer of the lung was the most frequent cause of death from cancer in the United States. It is estimated that 122,000 new cases of cancer of the lung and 105,000 deaths from the disease will occur in 1981. While cancer of the lung is the most frequent malignant tumor in men in the United States, the incidence in women is rapidly increasing. Since 1950, both sexes have experienced a threefold increase.1

Fifty percent of all patients with bronchogenic carcinoma are inoperable when the diagnosis is established. Of the remaining 50%, only one half, or 25% of the initial population, is resectable. While surgery remains the treatment of choice for resectable carcinomas (with the exception of small cell undifferentiated tumors), patients who are not surgical candidates, for medical or technical reasons, should be considered for radiation therapy delivered with curative intent. In addition to radical radiation therapy,