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New Radiation Therapy Technique Being Praised for Mesothelioma Treatment

There is a new, state-of-the-art radiotherapy technique known as VMAT, or volumetric modulated arc therapy, and it is being highly praised for its ability to offer mesothelioma patients a ore targeted approach to post-surgery radiation treatments. The new technique was specifically engineered to provide a highly targeted dose of radiation into a tumor without the risk of harming healthy tissue in close proximity. The innovative new technology allows either an individual radiation beam or several to sweep around the patient’s body. This is in contrast to other forms of radiation such as intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which is not as easily customized and takes more time to administer. One of the biggest advantages of the VMAT approach being hailed by researchers involves the air cavities that are often left behind in mesothelioma patients following surgery to remove tumors. The VMAT does not appear to be as confounded by these air cavities as do other types of radiation.

The mesothelioma studies of this new technique were done at Hiroshima University Hospital in Japan, where fifteen patients were offered VMAT radiotherapy after having undergone extra pleural pneumonectomies. The patients, all men with a median age of 67, represented varying stages of illness. About half were diagnosed with either Stage 1 or Stage II mesothelioma with minimal lymph node involvement, while the other half were diagnosed with a more advanced Stage III condition. The group was followed for a year, and nearly one third were found to be completely free of mesothelioma during that time. Over half showed no tumor grown, and none of them died from the VMAT. In terms of side effects, only three exhibited pneumonitis, a serious side effect of the treatment. As is commonly the case in mesothelioma studies, the patients who exhibited the best results were those whose mesothelioma had been identified as being of the epithelioid variety. The group’s research was recorded in the Journal of Radiation Research, and Dr. Tomoki Kimura and his colleagues deemed the new approach safe and effective for mesothelioma patients after EPP.

This is not the first study to reach that conclusion. In 2013 a Swiss study called VMAT “the most stable technique in regard to post surgical air cavity variation” for patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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