The cure for cancer is right around the corner. Incredible advances in short-term and long-term treatment have been made over the past few years, increasing the lifespan of those afflicted as well as helping others reach a diagnosis as early as possible. Advanced cancer treatment options around the world are starting to embrace proton treatment. Unlike other forms of radiation therapy, proton therapy targets more specific areas of the body to bolster its effectiveness while actively reducing the chances of complications during recovery. How could proton treatment change the way we look at cancer in the future?
Brain cancer treatment, breast cancer treatment and prostate cancer treatment could all potentially benefit from proton therapy. It’s estimated as many as 24,000 adults as well as 4,000 children are diagnosed with cancerous tumors in either the brain or spine every year. Breast cancer also sees new diagnoses on a constant basis and is considered one of the most widespread forms of cancer as we know it. Proton treatment is still in the development stages, but it may very well become a new standard.
Ongoing studies are conducted to better assess the genetic and environmental factors contributing to cancer rates. Nearly 20% of men over the age of 18 have had five or more drinks in one day at least once over the past year, while 60% of men over the age of 20 are either obese or struggling with high blood pressure. A healthy diet, routine exercise and regular check-ups with a family doctor can significantly reduce a person’s chances of developing a long-term disease, though cancer can still appear irregardless of how healthy or unhealthy a person’s lifestyle is.
The start of 2015 saw more than 30 particle therapy centers opening up across the world. They comprise a total of 80 rooms under construction to start providing proton treatment to patients. Proton therapy is characterized by a type of radiation that stops at very specific points in the targeted tissue. More conventional forms of radiation, on the other hand, continue well beyond the tumor and increase the probability of complications. Breast cancer can see an average of no radiation to the heart and 50% less radiation to the lung compared to conventional methods.
Long-term results have also been promising. Researchers have found much better follow-up recovery with proton treatment than other forms of therapy. Nearly 99% of men with low-risk prostate cancer had no signs of cancer recurrence after five years. Another 94% of intermediate-risk and 75% of high-risk prostate cancer patients had the same results. Impotence, a common side-effect of treatment, has also seen a significant decline. Proton therapy can better decrease the amount of radiation to gastrointestinal structures compared to x-rays.
Treatment session only takes 15 to 45 minutes on average. The amount of time to deliver protons to the tumor, however, is even shorter. Proton therapy’s smarter approach to alleviating aggressive symptoms and targeting the source is gaining widespread attention in the medical world. With cancer rates still on the rise, it’s important to both know your resources as well as reach out to doctors to assess your risk.
Learn the warning signs of cancer and visit a cancer treatment center for a check-up this year.
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