Every year, billions and billions of dollars are pushed into cancer treatment research. Cancer remains the biggest medical disease that there is still no cure for. Although there is currently no cure, there has been some progress in treatment options. Medical advancements give those with cancer a better chance at surviving and longer lives. One of the most promising types of prostate cancer treatment today is proton radiation therapy. It may also prove to be successful in other types of cancer.
What is proton radiation therapy?
Proton radiation therapy differs from other types of prostate cancer treatment. 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 or other types of cancer, this means on average, no radiation to the heart and on average, 50% less radiation to the lung as compared to conventional radiation. One of the concerns of radiation prostate cancer treatment is that it affects the other important parts of the body. Proton radiation therapy is a safer method that targets specifically the targeted area.
What are the current success rates?
Most prostate cancer options are discussed in terms of their success rates. Success rates not only include the ability to remove the cancer from the body, but also reduced recurrence rates. Researchers report that 99%, 94%, and 74% of men treated with proton therapy with low, intermediate, and high risk prostate cancer, respectively, have no signs of cancer recurrence after five years of follow up. Compared to other types of prostate cancer treatments, these are very good results. It might be the closest we have come to a prostate cancer cure. It could be beneficial to further its study in relation to breast cancer cures, as well.
How common is the treatment today?
Proton radiation therapy means little, if you are unable to find a location that offers it. As the success of proton radiation therapy continues to grow and it makes its way into medical offices, the number of treatment centers will also grow. However, there are already many treatment centers located both around the country, and around the world. More than 67,000 people worldwide have received proton therapy at centers in Europe, Asia, and the United States. It was first used to treat patients in 1955 in a research setting, but its use was limited because imaging techniques could not accurately pinpoint tumors.
Now that imaging and diagnostic measurements have advanced, proton therapy can show better success. It often takes the medical advancement of a variety of tools for increased treatment rates. It is even possible that the success rates of proton radiation therapy will increase even higher, once tools as diagnostics and other medical tools are also advanced.
How to receive proton radiation therapy
If you are thinking that proton radiation therapy might be an option for your treatment, you will want to consult with your physician. They will consider your specific case and any treatment options you have already tried. If they agree that proton radiation therapy is an option for your treatment, they will refer you to a center. You can also consult with local proton radiation therapy centers on your own. Always research and gather as much information as possible, before choosing to start a new type of treatment.
Science is advancing medical research rather quickly. Although we do not yet have a cure for different forms of cancer, we do have better treatment options. Proton radiation therapy is a treatment option that has been around for many years, but is just gaining popularity. It shows good success, low recurrence rates, and has a lot of availability around the world. If you believe that proton radiation therapy might be right for you, consult with your medical provider.