After spending your 30s and 40s being scared every time you went to your annual mammogram, you had finally relaxed. The fact that your mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 48 years old means that you had reason to be extra careful about getting the necessary screenings. In the last few years, however, you have relaxed a little. And just when you thought that you were finally ready to go in for your annual test without worry, you found out that you were wrong. As you and your husband sit in your doctor’s office listening to her list the best available breast cancer treatments, your mind travels back to sitting with your mom when she was at a similar appointment.
The fact that cancer proton therapy is now an option, however, you are holding out hope that your prognosis will be better than your mother’s. For while your mom loved cancer free for five years after her treatments, that sixth year brought a second diagnosis that showed the cancer had moved to her brain. A discovery that lead to a fast progression that caused her death a mere four months later.
Cancer Treatment Plans Now Include Proton Radiation Therapy Options
Whether you have a family history of cancer or not, a diagnosis is frightening. Waiting to hear breast cancer treatment options, though, can be especially stressful if you are a parent of young children. Advanced cancer treatment options help many patients return to a normal life faster than treatments that were available a decade ago, but the stress involved in the process is always significant. Fortunately, some of the newest treatment options a more specific treatment approach and can have fewer side effects. Consider some of the latest research about proton therapy for cancer:
- Conventional radiation continues beyond the tumor, but proton therapy is a type of radiation that stops at a very specific targeted tissue point. When involving breast cancer treatment, this means, on average, that no radiation reaches the heart and an average of 50% less radiation reaches the lungs when compared with conventional radiation.
- A proton therapy treatment options typically 15 to 45 minutes; the actual time spent delivering the protons to the tumor, however, is generally only a minute or two.
- Another advantage to proton therapy is that it decreases the radiation dose to gastrointestinal structures by at least 59% when compared to X-rays.
- Studies have found that prostate cancer patients treated using the proton therapy method have a significantly reduced risk of impotence, which results in as many as 94% of men reporting that they remain sexually active following treatment.