Important Things to Know about Proton Therapy


Proton radiation therapy

Interested in knowing more about prostate cancer options in treatment? One of the most popular recent developments in treatments for this disease is proton therapy. Read on for some facts about proton therapy and his could be involved in prostate cancer cure, treatment, and outcome statistics.

  • What is Proton Cancer Treatment?: Proton therapy is another type of radiation therapy. Radiation therapy for cancer treatment has been round for a long time. What distinguishes proton therapy is that the radiation is much more targeted. It stops at a very specific point. Radiation is good for killing cancer cells; but it?s also possible to damage healthy cells with radiation, too. Therefore, having a more targeted treatment, if it is effective, is in everyone?s best interests.

    Just as an example, typical breast cancer radiation treatments end up irradiating both the heart and lungs. But when breast cancer is treated with proton therapy, research shows that typically no radiation touches the heart, and the amount reaching the lungs is cut in half compared with conventional radiation. This is one reason proton therapy is increasingly being considered among the best prostate cancer options.
  • How Does Proton Therapy Work Specifically on Prostate Cancer?: Proton therapy is still in its infancy, but it could become one of your best prostate cancer options. Research so far seems to suggest that it is highly effective. In men with low-risk prostate cancer, treatment with proton therapy results in 99% of them having no signs of recurrence five years later. In those with intermediate-risk cancer, the percentage is 94%. And even with high-risk cancers, 74% of those undergoing proton therapy will not have recurrence five years later.
  • Are There any Dangers?: The dangers of radiation therapy are minimized by proton treatment, making it possibly one of the best prostate cancer options available for those eligible for it. One of the big worries with any prostate cancer treatment is the possibility of impotence or sexual dysfunction of some kind. With this treatment of prostate cancer, 94% of patients report that they are still sexually active, and the risk of impotence is greatly reduced. No cancer treatment is risk-free, of course.
  • Is it a Common Treatment?: It is becoming more so all the time. By the beginning of 2015, there were more than 30 particle therapy centers and 80 treatment rooms under construction around the world. That?s still not a lot, but the lowered risk of side effects with this type of treatment make it worth asking your doctor about as you explore possible prostate cancer options.

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