Proton Treatment offers New Hope for Cancer Patients

For those facing the difficult decisions regarding cancer treatment, the information out there may feel overwhelming. Despite the mass of information, it is important to get a clear understanding of the options you have available to you. New research and information is constantly available as new treatment options pass the rigorous testing protocols.

Working closely with your oncologist and staying up on the current research will help you know what your options are and what will provide you with the greatest quality of life throughout treatment and beyond. Too often patients refuse treatment because they are more worried about their quality of life caused by the treatment, opposed to living with dignity until the cancer runs its course. Patients should not have to choose between living and living a good life.

Proton treatment is just one example of a treatment option that has shown to be beneficial for many cancer patients. Proton therapy is a type of radiation, which has long been used in the treatment of cancer. This particular treatment, however, stops are a specific place in the targeted tissue. Traditional radiation goes beyond the tumor impacting other areas of the body. The specific nature of proton therapy means less radiation is going into the lungs, heart, and other organs.

Proton treatments have been found effective in many areas. For example, one study showed that 99% of men with low-risk prostate cancer showed no signs of cancer after the treatment. 94% of men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer showed no signs of cancer after treatment, and 74% of men with high-risk prostate cancer showed no signs of cancer following the proton treatment.

Proton therapy for prostate cancer reduced the percentage of men that suffered impotence following prostate cancer due to the targeted treatment method. This type of cancer treatment takes 15 to 45 minutes per session depending on a wide range of factors that are personal to the patient and their cancer. Traditional options in treatment of prostate cancer have resulted in the patient’s inability to have a normal sex life moving forward, but this doesn’t have to be the fate for all cancer patients.

Breast cancer is another area where proton therapy can be highly effective while reducing the risk radiation can place on organs. Due to their location, when breast cancer patients get radiation, they are often exposing their heart and lungs to that radiation, which can lead to other long-term effects. A targeted therapy could prevent the radiation exposure to the organs surrounding the diseased tissue.

This type of therapy could greatly improve the outcomes of people diagnosed with brain or spinal cord cancer. According to recent reports, nearly 24,000 adults and almost 5,000 children will be diagnosed with cancerous tumors in their brain or on their spinal cords each year. These types of tumors are particularly dangerous because often times treating them or trying to remove them will cause further damage.

A targeted approach such as the one available with proton treatment would help to treat the tumor without risking injury to other areas of the brain or spinal cord. Brain cancer treatment is dangerous regardless of what approach is used, but there are less invasive and detrimental options such as proton beam radiation.

Regardless of the treatment or prognosis, a key factor in cancer treatment is having a strong support system in place. This may include friends or family and including them in the treatment process can help you make clear decisions regarding what you really want. Different treatment centers may offer different types of treatment. Being your own health advocate may include seeking out the doctors and centers that are willing to go over all your options with you and offer things like proton therapy.