New York: Older adults who have surgery for a particular type of lung cancer often have radiation therapy afterward. But a new study suggests that the radiation typically does nothing to extend their lives.The findings, which appear in the journal Cancer, highlight the overall issue of "overtreatment" in medicine -- that is, giving patients tests and treatments that lack strong evidence of a benefit.In this case, researchers looked at government data on elderly Americans treated for a particular stage and type of non-small cell lung cancer.Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for about 90 percent of lung cancer cases in the US, but it`s further divided into complicated groupings based on the size of the tumor and other factors.Patients in this study had stage 3, N2 lung cancer, which means it had spread to particular nearby lymph nodes. People with that type of lung cancer can have surgery to remove the cancer -- and it`s been thought that radiation after surgery could help their chances of avoiding a cancer recurrence.But the actual research evidence on that has been mixed. And in general, experts have recommended against routinely using radiation for these patients.
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