Proton Therapy Brings Hope to Advanced Cancer Patients
Cancer research has led to breakthroughs in how we can treat cancer and hopefully one day eradicate it. Advanced cancer treatment options are more plentiful than they ever have been and provide hope to patients who for before there had been little. One of the advanced cancer treatment options is proton treatment.
Proton therapy is a type of radiation treatment for cancer that target the cancerous areas directly and can avoid sending radiation to parts of the body that don’t need it, including the heart and lungs in certain cases. Compared to conventional radiation, proton therapy sends about 50% less radiation to lungs. Proton therapy can also decrease the amount of radiation to the gastrointestinal system by almost 60%. Because of its targeted approach, actually receiving proton therapy is a relatively quick process. The proton beam radiation targets the tumor during a session that lasts for about 20-45 minutes.
Proton therapy for prostate cancer is also becoming more and more of a viable option for patients. Studies have shown that 74% of men with high risk prostate cancer had no signs of recurrence five years after completing proton therapy. For men with low risk prostate cancer, that number rose to 99%. When considering advanced cancer treatment options, it’s important to also think about how the treatment will affect quality of life. Treating prostate cancer with proton therapy reduces the risk of impotence due to proton therapy’s ability to target the tumor directly. 94% of men report a continued healthy sex life after completing proton therapy.
Proton therapy is quickly becoming one of the most viable advanced cancer treatment options. By 2015, over 30 treatment centers were under construction, totaling about 80 treatment rooms worldwide. There are lots of benefits to choosing proton therapy to treat cancer. So far, its success rates have been good. Aside from that, the life quality of the patients, particularly for men with prostate cancer, is higher than it would be in more traditional treatments. It also could potentially be a safer option in that it spares other unaffected organs some of the radiation.