How Proton Radiation Therapy Can Help In the Fight Against Cancer


Battling cancer is a fight that too many people in the United States have to wage. According to the National Cancer Institute, roughly 1.73 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year and more than 600,000 people will die from the disease.

Choosing a cancer treatment is never an easy decision. There are many factors to consider with cancer treatment including:

  • Control
  • Comfort
  • Cost
  • Cure
  • Side Effects
  • Overall health

When it comes to choosing a cancer treatment, The Mayo Clinic offers a five-step process to help you decide what’s best for you.

One option for cancer treatment that’s available is proton radiation therapy. This form of therapy has been around for about 40 years and is a type of radiation that stops at a very specific point in the targeted tissue whereas traditional radiation continues beyond the tumor.

For example, in breast cancer treatment, this means on average no radiation to the heart and on average, 50 percent less radiation to the lung as compared to conventional radiation. This type of therapy is effective at treating early stage breast cancer and causes less cosmetic damage than conventional radiation, making it a viable option for breast cancer care.

Generally speaking, there are many benefits to proton treatment, which include:

  • It’s accurate and precise, compared to other forms of radiation
  • It is noninvasive and painless
  • Treatment is provided in an outpatient setting
  • Recovery times are quick and side effects are minimal
  • Little or no impact on a patient’s energy level

When it comes to the use of proton radiation therapy for prostate cancer, studies have shown there are many benefits. Researchers report that 99 percent, 94 percent and 74 percent of men treated with proton radiation 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 radiation therapy’s targeted approach, studies have found that prostate cancer patients treated this way have a significantly reduced risk of impotence, with 94 percent of men reporting that they remain sexually active after treatment.

For prostate cancer treatment, benefits of proton radiation therapy can be found here.

For breast cancer treatment, benefits of proton radiation therapy can be found here.

For lung cancer treatment, benefits of proton radiation therapy can be found here.

The results of proton therapy on breast cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer have been varied, but the use of proton radiation therapy seems to be growing. At the beginning of 2015, more than 30 particle therapy centers with about 80 treatment rooms were under construction worldwide.

If you’re considering proton radiation therapy for treatment, it’s best to consult a doctor and this list of FAQs can explain the ins and outs of the therapy, how it works and what to expect with treatment.

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