Benefits of Proton Therapy

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Approximately 23,800 adults and 4,830 children are diagnosed with cancerous tumors of the brain and spinal cord each year, with brain tumors making up the majority of that number. Glioblastomas account for about 15% of all primary brain tumors. Fortunately, proton radiation therapy has been shown to be a quite effective treatment for many kinds of cancer. A proton is a positively charged particle. At high energy, protons can destroy cancer cells. Advanced cancer treatment options have made the diagnosis of cancer a less traumatic one.

Proton therapy is a type of radiation that stops at a very specific point in the targeted tissue, whereas conventional radiation continues beyond the tumor. In breast cancer, this means on average no radiation to the heart and on average 50% less radiation to the lung as compared with conventional radiation. Proton radiation therapy is a non invasive cancer treatment in that it decreases the radiation dose to gastrointestinal structures by at least 59% compared to X rays.

According to the CDC, 34.5% of men (20 years and older) are obese and 32.6% have high blood pressure or are taking prescriptions for hypertension. About 18% of men over the age of 18 have had five or more drinks in one day at least once in the past year. This increases their health risks enormously.

Researchers report that 99%, 94% and 74% of men treated with proton therapy with low, intermediate, and high risk prostate cancer, respectively, have no signs of cancer recurrence after five years of follow up. Due to proton therapy?s targeted approach, studies have found that prostate cancer patients treated using this method have a significantly reduced risk of impotence, with 94% of men reporting that they remain sexually active after treatment.

At the beginning of 2015, more than 30 particle therapy centers, with a total of about 80 treatment rooms, were under construction worldwide. A treatment session generally takes 15 to 45 minutes, however, the actual time spent delivering the protons to the tumor is generally only about a minute or two.

Proton radiation therapy is used for brain cancer treatment, breast cancer treatment, head and neck cancer treatment, and prostate cancer treatment. The advantage of proton radiation therapy (also called proton beam therapy) is that the physician can control where the proton releases the bulk of its cancer fighting energy. Also, Proton therapy delivers radiation to tumor tissue in a much more confined way than conventional photon therapy thus allowing the radiation oncologist to use a greater dose while still minimizing side effects.

We are fortunate to live in a day when proton radiation therapy is available. It alleviates a great deal of the stigma associated with cancers and gives greater hope of recovery with fewer side effects.

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