The Future Of Cancer Survivors How Proton Therapy Is Providing Patients The Most Effective Treatment Yet

Spotting cancer early is one of the best ways to beat it.

Sometimes even a person’s best attempts at staying healthy just aren’t enough, however, and they find themselves in need of cancer treatment. Whether it’s head and neck cancer treatment or a prostate cancer cure, millions of people find themselves in the hard position of asking which option is best. Radiation treatment for cancer is starting to see some serious changes with the introduction of proton beam therapy, designed to be effective while reducing the possibility of relapsing or additional damage to surrounding organs. While it’s not a staple yet, the next few years are looking promising, indeed.

Learn more about radiation treatment for cancer and how proton cancer treatment works.

Cancer statistics can seem staggering at times. Nearly 24,000 adults and 5,000 children will be diagnosed with cancerous tumors of the brain and spinal cord every single year, with brain tumors making up the majority. Prostate cancer affects thousands of men every year, particularly older men, and it’s estimated one out of seven women will be diagnosed with a form of breast cancer in her lifetime. Cancer screening centers are urging adults and children alike to get tested so as to better spot the possibility early on.

Conventional radiation treatment for cancer can be effective at beating the disease, but it also runs the side-effect of harming surrounding tissue and leaving patients at a higher risk for relapse. Cancer proton therapy has emerged as a result to promote both short-term and long-term recovery, with ongoing studies boasting impressive results already. The beginning of 2015 saw more than 30 particle therapy centers (and a total of 80 treatment rooms) being under construction worldwide.

Proton therapy works by targeting very specific points in the targeted tissue. Conventional radiation, on the other hand, continues well beyond the tumor. Breast cancer, for example, will see an average of no additional radiation to the heart and, on average, 50% less radiation to the lung compared with conventional treatment options. A treatment session will also take just 15 to 45 minutes, though the actual time spent delivering protons to the tumor is only one or two minutes. This means fast, effective therapy that yields a much higher success rate.

How does it affect prostate cancer, then? Researchers have conducted ongoing studies to better assess the potential for relapsing among different prostate cancer patients. Over 95% of men treated with proton therapy for low-risk prostate cancer had no signs of cancer recurrence after five years. Another 90% and 75% of men with intermediate-risk and high-risk prostate cancer, respectively, had no signs of recurrence, as well. Proton therapy’s targeted approach has also found prostate cancer patients having a significantly reduced risk of impotence, with over 90% reporting they have remained sexually active after treatment.

Radiation treatment for cancer gets better and better every year. It provides patients a much higher risk of recovery not just in the short-term, but in the long-term, with prostate cancer patients and breast cancer patients displaying good health years after the fact. Proton therapy’s unique model means the cancerous tumor is being targeted, leaving surrounding organs and tissue safe from additional damage. While there are still elements to work out, the future for cancer survivors remains bright. Recent studies have suggested the number of breast cancer survivors could very well double over the coming years.

With proton therapy for brain cancer and prostate cancer, the future is looking brighter than ever.

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