I have small cell lung cancer; radiation to prevent spread to the brain has been recommended but from what I have read this seems questionable? Should radiation be used to prevent spread of lung cancer to the brain?
Dr. Lee: There have been several studies examining the role of prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) in small cell lung cancer. For patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer, PCI can decrease the incidence of brain metastases and prolong survival and is therefore recommended. For patients with extensive stage small cell lung cancer, PCI can decrease the incidence of brain metastases although whether it prolongs survival is uncertain. Therefore, PCI might be recommended in select patients with extensive stage small cell lung cancer, such as those who have had a complete or very good response to their initial chemotherapy.