In addition to traditional cancer treatment options, proton therapy has been demonstrating positive results. As a result, more of these proton cancer treatment facilities are being constructed throughout the world. As of 2015, there were over 30 particle therapy centers in existence, and an additional 80 were under construction.
A Brief Overview of Proton Therapy
While proton therapy is a form of radiation, it is different than conventional forms of radiation therapy. One of the significant differences is that the protons are directed to a specific point, and the radiation doesn’t travel beyond this targeted area into surrounding tissues.
An entire proton treatment session will usually last between 15 to 45 minutes. Most of the session involves setting up the delivery system, however. The time it takes to actually deliver the protons is quite brief, and will usually range between one to two minutes.
Proton Therapy for Breast Cancer
In addition to the other benefits associated with using proton therapy for breast cancer, radiation rarely reaches the heart. When compared with conventional radiation therapy, there is also less radiation that reaches the lungs. On average, there is 50% less, which is significant.
Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer
According to researchers, proton therapy for prostate cancer has demonstrated positive results for a large percentage of patients. There have been no recurring signs of cancer after five years for the following participants that were treated with proton therapy:
- Low-risk: 99% showed no recurrence
- Intermediate-risk: 94% showed no recurrence
- High-risk: 74% showed no recurrence
Furthermore, studies have also shown that men have a reduced risk of impotence when they received proton therapy. This was the case with 94% of the participants that reported they continued to be active sexually following their treatment protocol.
Proton Therapy for Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
Due to its targeted approach, proton therapy has also been used to treat a variety of brain and spinal cord tumors. Every year, there are roughly 23,800 adults and 4,830 children that receive this diagnosis. Brain tumors are the most common diagnosis, and approximately 15% of these are glioblastomas.
Learn More About Advanced Cancer Treatment Options
In addition to what has been discussed above, proton therapy has been used to treat other forms of cancer.
If you or someone in your family has received a cancer diagnosis, it’s important to discuss treatment options with your oncologist. Given the continued advancements being made within this field, proton cancer treatment may be recommended and your preferred option.