Response of intrathoracic symptoms to thoracic irradiation was evaluated in 330 patients. Superior vena caval syndrome and hemoptysis showed the best response, with rates of 86% and 83%, respectively, compared to 73% for pain in the shoulder and arm and 60% for dyspnea and chest pain. Atelectasis showed re-expansion in only 23% of cases, but this figure increased to 57% for patients with oat-cell carcinoma. Vocal cord paralysis improved in only 6% of cases. Radiation therapy has a definite positive role in providing symptomatic relief for patients with carcinoma of the lung.