DETROIT – Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death of both men and women in the U.S. More people die every year of lung cancer than colon, breast and pancreatic cancers combined.
Thompson underwent treatment for lung cancer in November with the Edge™ Radiosurgery Suite at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, which delivers large doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy to destroy cancer cells without harming surrounding tissue. Henry Ford was the first hospital in North America to provide radiosurgery treatment with the Edge and it is the only hospital in Michigan able to perform this advanced, non-invasive cancer procedure anywhere in the body. Edge is designed to treat cancer anywhere in the body – including the brain, spine, head and neck, adrenal gland, lung, liver and pancreas – with extreme precision and low toxicity.
Thompson was first diagnosed with cancer in his right lung in 2012, 55 years after smoking his first cigarette. More than two years after his first successful cancer treatment, a second, unrelated lesion appeared on his right lung. “I would not have started smoking if I knew then what I know now,” says Thompson, 71, a U.S. Army veteran and retired Chief of Logistics Management of the Detroit District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the father of an adult daughter. “My advice to anyone who is smoking now or thinking about taking it up: Quit and don’t even start. It’s not healthy.”
According to the American Lung Association, 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. To raise awareness about the fight against lung cancer, November is designated national Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
In 2012, Thompson’s lung cancer was treated with stereotactic radiation therapy; for his second diagnosis, his Henry Ford physicians again recommended radiation therapy, this time using the most advance treatment system available: The Edge.
The Edge is different than other treatments in that it uses new real-time tumor tracking technology and motion management capabilities, which improve both safety and comfort for patients by protecting healthy tissue. The technology also is able to treat tumors that may be difficult to reach surgically. In most cases each treatment session takes about 20 minutes or less.
Treatments with the Edge are typically outpatient and completed within the same week – with only one to five sessions. Thompson underwent four treatment sessions with the Edge. A pioneer in the use stereotactic radiation therapy, Henry Ford’s Department of Radiation Oncology has treated more than 4,000 patients using this specialized type of stereotactic radiation therapy.
Munther Ajlouni, M.D., the Henry Ford radiation oncologist who treated Thompson says, “Mr. Thompson has made significant progress with the radiosurgery treatment and has resumed his normal activities.”
Thompson enjoys visiting and hiking through the Montana Mountains, however at 5,000-10,000 feet the air becomes thin. Thompson opted for the Edge and stereotactic lung cancer treatments rather than surgery in order to maintain as much lung capacity as possible. He was worried that surgery to remove the cancer portion of his lung would decrease his lung capacity too much – and prevent him from visiting the mountains.
Thompson is grateful to his Henry Ford doctors who developed an aggressive treatment plan and fully explained every step in the process throughout the course of treatment.
What is stereotactic radiation?
Stereotactic radiation is a procedure that precisely delivers intense radiation doses to tumor targets in one to five treatments. The goal of this non-invasive procedure is to destroy, or make inactive, the tumor while minimizing dose exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue.
For more information about the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford and the Edge, go to the Department of Radiation Oncology. To make an appointment, call (877) 434-7470. To learn more about Varian and the Edge, visit www.varian.com.