No one wants to be diagnosed with any kind of cancer. The problem is that many people get the news that they have developed cancer every year. Every year, in the United States, for every 100,000 people, there are 454.8 new cases. The good news about this situation is that more and more therapies and treatments are being developed all of the time. One therapy that has come a long way in recent years is proton treatment.
What is proton treatment?
Proton cancer treatment is a lot like traditional radiation therapy. Both kinds of treatment use radiation to keep the tumor cells from being able to divide and reproduce. Proton treatments are a lot more targeted than the traditional radiation therapies that are in use today. When proton beam radiation is used, higher intensity radiation can be used to attack only the tumor and leave the surrounding tissue alone. This is great news for people who are undergoing this kind of treatment for many kinds of cancer.
Overall, less energy is sent into the body during proton treatment than what is used when traditional radiation therapies are used. This brings with it a host of benefits to this treatment. Because proton treatments do less to the healthy tissues that surround the tumors, there are a lot fewer side effects. Here are some of the other benefits of this kind of treatment for cancer:
- It is targeted. Unlike generalized radiation therapy, cancer proton therapy uses precision to target and attack the cancer cells themselves. This means more radiation can be used but fewer healthy cells are hurt.
- The toxicity is lowered. When traditional radiation is used, a larger area is blasted. This means it is easier to reach a toxic level. By focusing the beam on a smaller area, the chances of reaching a toxic dose is minimized.
- The side effects are reduced. Again, by limiting the scope, in terms of the number of healthy tissues and organs that are impacted, the short term and long term side effects are reduced.
- The prevalence of secondary tumors is reduced. Radiation may be used to cure cancer but it is also a cause of it. When large amounts of healthy cells and organs are subjected to radiation therapy, there is always the chance that a secondary tumor will develop. Using proton therapy for cancer means this is much less likely because the therapy leaves so much of the healthy tissue and organs alone. In some research, the occurrence of secondary cancers has been cut in half by the use of proton therapy for cancer.
- It is useful in cases of recurrent cancer. There are times when a tumor will be removed and/or go into remission only to come back. In many instances, the treatment options are different with the recurrent cancers. Proton therapy for recurrent cancers has been found to be effective in their treatment.
- For some cancers, the recurrence rate is lower. There are some cancers that respond better than others. For a number of cancers, using proton treatment is more effective at treating the cancerous cells and making sure they do not return in the future. This can help ease the mind of the people who undergo this kind of treatment for cancer.
- People who are undergoing proton therapy for cancer have a better quality of life during their treatment. When people first learn that they have any kind of cancer, they think that the treatment is going to be long and painful. While all cancer treatments have some side effects, the people who undergo proton radiation treatment for cancer have a much better experience with the process.
Many people think of a cancer diagnosis as the end of the road. Even if they think they will be able to beat their cancer, the idea of going through radiation therapy sounds dreadful. The good news is that researchers are working constantly to discover new treatments and refine ones that are already in use. One of these advanced cancer treatment options is proton treatment. This kind of treatment makes it possible to kill the cancer cells while leaving the healthy ones alone. This new therapy is giving hope and help to many people around the United States and the planet.