• The Explosion of Proton Therapy

    Proton therapy for cancer

    The way that we treat cancer is going through a massive change, and hardly anyone?s heard about it. Proton therapy, a new, highly targeted form of radiation therapy, has become so a sought-after that there simply aren?t enough clinics to accommodate the demand.
    While proton therapy has been around as early as the mid-nineties in the US (and even further back in Europe), it has only recently begun to become widely known, if it is still not widely available.
    What separates proton therapy from the older, more conventional forms of radiation therapy is the ability to zero in on a small number of targeted malign cells while doing comparatively little damage to the surrounding cells. This makes it an ideal procedure for people with cancer in sensitive areas, and is a great method of eye, spinal cord, and brain cancer treatment.
    But the lack of unintended radiation makes it appealing for application on a number of other cancer types. When breast cancer is treated with proton radiation, for instance, there is typically less than half the amount of accidental radiation to the lungs, and none to the heart! Making it one of the cleanest methods of breast cancer treatment.
    There is also a significant benefit to proton therapy for prostate cancer. One of the main drawbacks of traditional radiation for prostate cancer is impotence, however 94% of men who underwent proton therapy for cancer remained sexually active after the treatment.

    If proton treatment has proven to be so helpful in fighting such a wide range of cancers, then why is it not being implemented more widely? In a word: cost. The equipment for proton therapy is highly specialized, and the cost is often prohibitive for most hospitals and cancer treatment facilities.

    But things might be changing. A recent market report by Research and Markets has projected there will be a continuous increase in proton therapy centers across the US. Moreover, new companies are entering US markets, increasing the competition and likely driving down prices for equipment.
    The benefits of this increase in accessibility will undoubtedly lead to more clinical research, and a further understanding of this still relatively new cancer treatment. This will in turn raise awareness of proton therapy treatment for cancer among patients.
    Proton therapy for cancer is the wave of the future.