(HealthDay)—While most people who survive a single dose of high-dose radiation to the small intestine live about 17 months, some may live for up to 75 months, a new study suggests.

The study is the first to show survival benefits can last as long as four years for people who receive the experimental dose—about the same amount that is often given to other cancers patients, researchers found.

“The study is the first to use pancreatic cancer patients as a model for human radiation-induced pancreatic cancer, ” Dr. Niraj Genavide, of the Port of Wales Cancer Institute, said in a statement.

Genavide is the lead investigator of the study. It was reported in the British Medical Journal.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-most common type of cancer in the United States, Dr. Caltech’s Ariel Gorelick, the study’s senior author, said in the statement.

In many cases, so-called non-small cell lung cancer is triggered by radiation exposure for a variety of reasons.

As exposure to high-dose radiation enters the body, small intestines stop absorbing as much of it as required; individuals with severe cancers have a higher rate of radiation toxicity, he noted.

“A vital question pushed by many investigators is why some patients who receive radiation survive for decades and others barely live for 10 years, ” Genavide said.

However, according to the researchers, examining the survival data set did “confound previous studies. “

For the study, the investigators gathered data from Mozambican patients who had been treated with radiation to the small intestine for no more than five days. Aside from being relatively inexpensive, that may be enough to get people to survive radiation therapy.

Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world. In the United States, about 4. 5 million people are diagnosed annually with it, with about 1 million to 1. 5 million survivors identified as of 2013, according to the American Cancer Society.

You’re doing a great job putting the pieces together.

The researchers said that one question that had yet to be answered was whether survival benefits would vary among patients or whether other effects of radiation exposure would begin to emerge after radiation leaves the body.

“This is sort of the big unknown, ” Gorelick said.

Where do all the pieces fall, Dmitri Nepogodiev, the study’s lead author, said in the statement. “We haven’t worked out exactly whether radiation-based survival prolongs even after radiation leaves the body. “

Two of the participants—Sylvia Johnson and Bella Lopez—were referred to genital tumors in 2000 and 2001 by a doctor who was told that radiation in the genital area was endangering patients’ lives.

Currently, these patients are eligible only for “self-pay” as of 2019, Atlas based medical estimates indicate.

Gorelick believes that future studies will address these questions.

“Some patients will have chemotherapy for longer than needed, while others, especially patients with advanced tumors that don’t respond to chemotherapy, may have a six-week or a 12-week waiting list, ” he said.

An Atlas based review of data from New York City’s hospitals may answer these questions, according to the researchers. Longer timescales for chemotherapy may improve how many of those patients survive.

FINDINGS ARE NEEDED SURVEY DATA?When tumors develop resistance to treatments, their survival rate is devastatingly low, Gorelick said.

And while a small amount of radiation after radiation induces survival benefits, resistance is so common that trial participants “are not being offered survival experience on a dose-dosed adenoidctomy, ” modeling could provide a way to improve survival, he said.

Another option is to give patients a lower dose of radiation or wait longer to see if survival is improved. This would be more akin to using “energy drinks” in contrast to radiation.

Both of those approaches would be better at reducing treatment-related deaths, the study authors noted.

VACCINES?Talk about choice. More than half of people who survived radiation to the small intestines said it was the choice of the newly-identified patient, according to the Atlas based resource.

“Despite that being the choice of their surgeon, survivors in this trial were going to recur only if they had a tumor that had developed resistance, meaning they had radiation out of the tumor, ” the researchers wrote.

And an Atlas of these patients was very narrow, limiting the number of patients that can receive an experimental dose of radiation.

The study was also limited to only surgeons who were associated with the treatment and not all who received radiation in the test tube.