Radiation Therapy for Endobronchial Disease

Radiation therapy can help improve the breathing of patients with endobronchial disease through high-dose radiation for a short amount of time.

Endobronchial brachytherapy is available at Fox Chase Cancer Center for patients with tumors that interfere with breathing. In this procedure, a catheter (a thin plastic tube) is placed in the area to be treated, and radiation is then placed into the catheter to reach the tumor. The catheter is removed after the procedure.

High-dose-rate (HDR) lung brachytherapy treatments can be used to:

  • Help open an almost-blocked lung airway
  • Help stop bleeding
  • Retreat a previously irradiated lung cancer
  • Increase the radiation dose and chance of cure (in addition to regular external beam irradiation)
  • Treat in-situ (very early) lung cancers

Other available options include:

Lung Imaging Fluorescence Endoscopy (LIFE) enables doctors to find signs of very early lung cancers and treat these cancers while there is still an excellent chance of cure.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) uses a chemical compound activated by exposure to a specific light wavelength to help open up blocked lung airways and treat early tumors. Fox Chase is one of the few cancer centers nationwide offering a pioneering combination of LIFE and PDT.

Debulking procedures use lasers or cryotherapy to open blocked airways. Interventional pulmonologists with specialized training in advanced bronchoscopy techniques can open blocked airways and place stents to keep these airways open. These procedures not only help relieve shortness of breath but can lessen coughing and airway bleeding. These procedures are frequently performed in the outpatient setting with rapid recovery times.

For more information about lung cancer prevention, screening, and treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center, see our Thoracic Oncology Program.