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Research is Changing How We Treat Cancer in the U.S.

Research is Changing How We Treat Cancer in the U.S.

By Susan Gagnier

Aug 11, 2016

Updated Oct 25, 2023

5 min read


5 Landmark Cases in Cancer Research

1985: Cancer of the Cervix

Resection, the surgical removal of tumors, is effective in early stages of cervical cancer, but not recommended in stages IIB, III, and IVA.

In these cases, radiation and chemotherapy treatment is necessary. This study tested radiation combined with chemotherapy infusion against radiation combined with oral chemotherapy.

Patients treated with radiation and cisplatin chemotherapy infusion showed significant improvements in their five-year survival.

1999: Small-Cell Lung Cancer

For three years, 381 small-cell lung cancer patients were studied to find out whether chemotherapy with modest radiation or chemotherapy with aggressive radiation was more effective.

Patients who received chemotherapy with aggressive radiation had a much better two-year survival rate.

2000: Non-Small Lung Cancer

This study tested three different lung cancer treatment methods against each other. The first group received chemotherapy treatment for two months followed by radiation once a day. The second group received radiation treatment twice daily with a higher overall radiation dosage. The third group received radiation treatment once a day.

The group that received chemotherapy followed by radiation had the highest five-year survival rate.

2009: Stage IIIA Lung Cancer

Patients who had previously received induction chemotherapy and some radiation treatment for lung cancer were divided into two groups to test follow-up treatments. One group continued to receive more radiation treatment, while the other underwent surgical resection.

The five-year survival rate was the same in both arms of the study, suggesting surgical resection in stage IIIA lung cancer should be very selective.

2011: Stage III Lung Cancer

This study split patients into three groups. Each group received five weeks of chemotherapy, but the administration of radiation varied in each.

The first group received radiation treatment after completing chemotherapy. The second group concurrently received chemotherapy and once-a-day radiation. The third group concurrently received chemotherapy and twice-a-day radiation.

Patients who received chemotherapy and radiation at the same time had much better survival rates.

Want to Help?

Research leads to important discoveries that make our lives better. If you’re interested in supporting research, consider participating in a research project.

Before you decide to be a research volunteer, get the facts: Know what’s expected of you, ask questions, know the pros and cons.

A few points to remember:

A research study may or may not help you personally. But the results may help others who have a health problem.

Taking part in a research study is voluntary.

Refusing to participate will in no way be detrimental to your relationship with Intermountain Healthcare or your physician.

Please contact the Office of Research at 801-408-1991, 800-321-2107 or at if you have questions about research in general or becoming a research volunteer.