Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Newer radiation therapy technology improves patients' quality of life, research finds

Date:
January 27, 2012
Source:
University of California - Davis Health System
Summary:
Patients with head and neck cancers who have been treated with newer, more sophisticated radiation therapy technology enjoy a better quality of life than those treated with older radiation therapy equipment, a study has found.

Patients with head and neck cancers who have been treated with newer, more sophisticated radiation therapy technology enjoy a better quality of life than those treated with older radiation therapy equipment, a study by UC Davis researchers has found.

The findings, presented Jan. 26 at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Phoenix, is the first of its kind to measure long-term quality of life among cancer patients who have undergone radiation therapy for advanced cancers of the throat, tongue, vocal cords, and other structures in the head and neck.

Allen Chen, assistant professor and director of the residency and fellowship training program in the UC Davis Department of Radiation Oncology, reported that the use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, was associated with fewer long-term side effects, which led to a better quality of life. Standard radiation therapy to the head and neck has been known to affect a patient's ability to produce saliva, taste, and even chew food. These side effects historically have resulted in permanent disabilities.

"With the newer machines using IMRT, physicians are skillfully able to deliver higher doses of radiation to the tumor and lower doses to surrounding normal tissues than ever before," Chen said. "I wanted to see if this theoretical advantage resulted in any tangible improvements in quality of life for patients."

For the study, Chen used the University of Washington Quality of Life instrument, a standardized, previously validated questionnaire that patients complete after radiation therapy. The survey was administered prospectively to 155 patients at UC Davis Cancer Center diagnosed with head and neck cancers, 54 percent of whom were initially treated with IMRT and 46 percent of whom were treated with other radiation therapy technologies. All of the patients receiving IMRT also underwent image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), which has been available at UC Davis since 2006 and is used to increase accuracy by taking a high-quality scan of the tumor daily.

Chen and his colleagues found that the early gains observed in quality of life became magnified over time for those who received IMRT treatment. For example, one year after treatment, 51 percent of the IMRT patients rated their quality of life as very good or outstanding, compared to 41 percent of non-IMRT patients. But two years after treatment, the percentages changed to 73 percent and 49 percent respectively.

John Torres of Sacramento was diagnosed in early 2010 with a large tumor at the base of his tongue on the right side of his throat. Fearing that surgery might result in the loss of his voice box, Torres opted for IMRT with IGRT and had 33 treatments.

Torres, now 73 and in remission, points out that the treatments were "no walk in the park," but said he is faring much better than he expected. Although his mouth is often dry and he has lost some taste sensation, he is enjoying an active life.

"I golf a couple of time a week," he said. "My wife and I like to socialize. We go out, and we dance. And we are planning to take a cruise through the Panama Canal in next two or three months. Life has gotten back to pretty much exactly what it was."

Chen acknowledged that quality of life is difficult to measure because of its subjective nature. Nonetheless, he said the findings support the more widespread use of IMRT in radiation clinics throughout the country.

"There has been some reluctance to utilize it because it is expensive, resource intensive, and takes on average 10 to 12 hours to prepare a single patient's treatment," he said. "I think this is further evidence that our investment in developing newer technologies is really paying off."

Chen, whose findings will be highlighted at a symposium press briefing on Friday, Jan. 27, received no outside funding for the research. Other investigators who collaborated on the study were Gregory Farwell, Quang Luu, Esther Vazquez, Derick Lau, and James Purdy, all from the UC Davis Cancer Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis Health System. "Newer radiation therapy technology improves patients' quality of life, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126143658.htm>.
University of California - Davis Health System. (2012, January 27). Newer radiation therapy technology improves patients' quality of life, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126143658.htm
University of California - Davis Health System. "Newer radiation therapy technology improves patients' quality of life, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120126143658.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins