Common Questions Involving Proton Therapy

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As science and research advances, we also hope that new treatments and eventually a cure will be found for cancer. Hearing that you have cancer is very overwhelming. Different cancers have different treatment recommendations. Some of the current treatment options have good expected outcomes, while others do not. Proton therapy for cancer is one of the newer treatments that has thus far, shown good results.

What is proton therapy?

You may or may not have heard about proton therapy. Proton therapy is a type of radiation that stops at a very specific point in the targeted tissue, conventional radiation continues beyond the tumor. In breast cancer, this means on average, no radiation to the heart and on average, 50% less radiation to the lung as compared with conventional radiation. With proton therapy for brain cancer, less of the brain is targeted. Proton therapy for brain cancer gives hope to those with brain cancer, because the more areas of the brain that it has to target, the more areas of the brain that are damaged. Because the brain is one of the most important parts of the body, proton therapy for brain cancer is preferred.

How available is proton therapy?

Newer cancer treatments are sometimes hard to come by. If your referring physician is not aware of them, they may never refer you to them. Additionally, sometimes your insurance will not cover procedures that are too new and have limited outcome results. Fortunately, proton therapy for brain cancer and other types of cancers are growing. At the beginning of 2015, more than 30 particle therapy centers, with a total of about 80 treatment rooms, were under construction worldwide. As more and more physicians learn about the benefits of cancer proton therapy, the number of cancer treatment centers is expected to grow.

What is the procedure?

Advanced cancer treatment options are commonly known as being tough and draining. Although you can experience some fatigue from proton therapy, it is usually much less than with traditional radiation methods. A treatment session generally takes 15 to 45 minutes, however, the actual time spent delivering the protons to the tumor is generally only about a minute or two. The shortened proton therapy time is usually better accepted by brain cancer treatment patients, as well as other patients.

How can I find out more about proton therapy?

If proton therapy sounds like a good option for you, you will want to consult with your physician. It is likely that you have a primary physician that is handling your treatment. Consult with them on the availability and likeliness of successful proton therapy. However, just because your current physician is not aware of or does not refer you to a proton therapy center does not mean that you cannot try this treatment. You are in charge of your treatment and sometimes alternative therapies are ideal. Always get a second opinion and do your own research when it comes to your cancer treatment options.

What are the success rates of proton therapy?

The exact success rates of proton therapy depends on many factors, including the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, and the availability of other treatments during the procedure time. No one can guarantee your success or give you an exact expected success rate, but so far, proton therapy has shown good results in reducing the return and existence of the cancer in many different patients.

No one wants to hear that they have cancer. However, if you do, you do have options. Learn about all of your options, including proton therapy. Consult with your primary physician on proton therapy for brain cancer. The proton therapy centers around the world are expanding and the treatment process is becoming more recognized. The treatment process is less invasive and produces less negative side effects.

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