University of Alabama at Birmingham: UAB radiation oncologists provide first SBRT treatments to lung cancer patients in the Alexander City area

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Physicians at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine’s Department of Radiation Oncology recently began providing stereotactic body radiation therapy, or SBRT, to lung cancer patients at UAB Medicine’s Russell Medical Cancer Center in Alexander City, Alabama.

Hunter Boggs, M.D., associate professor of radiation oncology, treated the first SBRT lung cancer patient at the facility in June 2022.

“Our team of physicists, therapists, dosimetrists and physicians worked for over nine months to commission stereotactic body radiation therapy to be used at our community center at Russell Medical Center,” Boggs said. “Previously, patients needing this treatment needed to travel to Birmingham. We are so happy that patients living in Alexander City and the surrounding areas can get the same quality of treatment while staying closer to their homes.”

SBRT is a noninvasive treatment that delivers extremely precise and intense doses of radiation to cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. It is normally used to treat small, early-stage lung cancer or cancers that have spread to the lung and other parts of the body.

Unlike conventional radiation therapy, which typically requires multiple doses over five to six weeks, SBRT typically requires only one to five treatments.

Patients with early stage (stage I-II) lung cancer who are either not a candidate for surgery or decline surgery are potentially eligible to receive this treatment.

“These treatments are painless and have a high success rate in appropriately selected patients,” Boggs said. “The radiation oncology team in Alexander City is working on commissioning SBRT for additional cancer types in the coming months.”

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