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Dr. Thawani on AEs With Radiation Versus COVID-19 Symptoms in Lung Cancer

Nitika Thawani, MD, discusses identifying the difference between adverse events that are associated with radiation versus COVID-19 symptoms in lung cancer.

Nitika Thawani, MD, radiation oncologist, The University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, discusses identifying the difference between adverse events (AEs) that are associated with radiation versus COVID-19 symptoms in lung cancer.

From a radiation oncology standpoint, the only way COVID-19 affects patients who undergo radiation is if they experience AEs, says Thawani. AEs from radiation or an infection can be difficult to differentiate. At that point, physicians have to be diligent about testing, and examine for AEs where the field of radiation was applied, to determine whether the AE could be related to the radiation or COVID-19.

Moreover, aside from COVID-19, there are ongoing approaches with radiation that are being explored, Thawani says. Radiation is immunogenic and has been used in combination with some viral vaccines to eliminate cancer cells. The field of lung cancer will hopefully have future clinical trials to prove or disprove these types of combination therapies, concludes Thawani.

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