Cancer is a subject that no one likes to talk about. When we think of cancer treatment, we usually think of radiation treatments, but there is a different type of radiation therapy that you need to know about. Proton radiation therapy is an advanced cancer treatment option, and it can make a world of difference to someone battling cancer. Here is what you need to know about the benefits.
What Is Proton Radiation Therapy?
Simply put, proton radiation therapy differs from traditional radiation therapy by being capable of delivering a more precise dose of radiation to cancerous cells. This allows patients to receive the benefits of the treatment, without the risk of damage to neighboring healthy tissue, as is found with traditionally delivered radiation therapy. Proton radiation therapy can be used as a brain cancer treatment option, a prostate cancer treatment option, and even as a viable treatment for breast cancer, and that’s just to name a few. Your doctor will be able to discern if a proton cancer treatment it is the right choice for you.
What Are the Benefits of Proton Radiation Therapy?
As proton radiation therapy is more precisely targeted it can reduce complications that can be acquired in the future. As standard radiation is administered, healthy tissues are also affect, this can lead to increased fatigue, irritation of the skin, and more severe side effects stemming from irradiated organs. Secondary cancer development is a concern here, as they can develop as a result of the radiation used in the therapy. This is why it is important to not only keep exposure of non-cancerous cells to a minimum, but also to only administer doses in small increments. This is why proton therapy is a better choice in the long term. Other significant benefits to consider include:
- Fewer side effects as compared to standard radiation therapy
- It has proven effective in both children and adults with cancer
- It can target tumors more precisely, reducing the risk of damage to healthy cell tissue and organs
- Reduction in the risk of tumors developed due to the treatment
- It’s an option for recurrent tumors, even if patients have already undergone standard radiation therapy
- It reduces level of toxicity the body is exposed to overall
A standard treatment session lasts anywhere between 15 to 45 minutes, with the protons only being administered for around a minute or two. Additionally, with this treatment there is the benefit of having an improvement in the quality of life, as compared to standard radiation. This benefit extends both during and after treatment has been received.
Comparing Proton Radiation Therapy and Standard Radiation
While both are proven to kill cancer cells, the biggest difference is the control of the radiation being administered. Proton radiation can be administered precisely in a particular area, with a clear cut off range. Whereas traditional therapy exposes the body to waves of excess x-rays, which can harm unaffected healthy organs, and go on to cause more problems in the future. This can be exceptionally detrimental depending on the location of the targeted tumor, as healthy organs such as the brain or heart can be negatively affected by stray radiation. For instance, in the case of breast cancer this mean no radiation affects the heart, and 50% less radiation affects the lungs, as opposed to standard radiation. Additionally, 99% of low risk, 94% of medium risk, and 74% of high risk men treated with proton therapy for prostate cancer, were found to have no signs of recurrence within 5 years of monitoring. I cannot stress enough the benefits of precision proton treatment, it really can make a world of difference when it comes to treating cancer in patients.
Cancer is a difficult subject to tackle, and we all know someone who has been affected by it. However, as advancements in the medical field continue, we are finding exceptional ways to treat this terrible disease. With this therapy you can get the treatment you need, without having to worry about the damaging side effects that can stem from more traditional options. If you or someone you know is seeking treatment, I urge you to talk to your doctor to see if proton radiation therapy is right and available for you.