Cancer has long since stood as a major health problem, and cancerous cells and malignant tumors have been known to appear on a wide variety of tissues and organs across the human body. Cancer often proves deadly, and doctors and medical researchers have developed methods for fighting back. Some advanced cancer treatment options may include chemotherapy or full-body radiation, which do have an effect. However, this form of cancer treatment therapy often deals a lot of collateral damage to the body, and a breast cancer doctor may suggest something else: proton radiation therapy. This form of cancer treatment therapy is a non-invasive cancer treatment method that may produce good results while having little effect on the rest of the body. This form of cancer treatment therapy is relatively new and has a limited number of treatment centers around the world, but more of them are being built, and this brand of cancer treatment therapy may be more common in the future. What is there to know about proton beam therapy today?
Proton Beams and Their Effect
This form of cancer treatment therapy does not attack the entire body, the way chemotherapy or full-body radiation do. Instead, proton beam therapy is much more focused and precise, and will only target cancerous cells and tumors in the body while minimizing collateral damage to tissues next to or behind the affected area. This is done with a machine known as a synchrotron, which will electrically excite protons and issue them in a narrow, controlled beam through a nozzle. This beam will destroy cancer cells and growths on contact, while having practically no effect on other tissues in the body.
Not all forms of cancer can be treated with cancer treatment therapy with proton beams, but many of them can, and this includes breast cancer and prostate cancer, among other types. When someone gets a positive cancer diagnosis, they may consult the doctors at the screening clinic and ask if their cancer case can be treated with proton therapy. If it can, the patient may expect some good results, and studies have confirmed this. In women, breast cancer can be treated with proton beams, and the patient’s heart may receive no damage from the proton beam at all. Meanwhile, her lungs may experience only half the radiation as they would from full-body radiation therapy. In men, meanwhile, many positive results have been found for prostate cancer and proton beams. In men with low, moderate, and high risk prostate cancer risks, 99%, 94%, and 74% of cases (respectively) showed no signs of cancer recurrence five years later during a follow-up. Even a delicate organ such as this can endure proton therapy to good effect, and over 90% of men who get this therapy claim no issues with their sexual health later on.
Going in For Proton Cancer Treatment
If a patient has received a positive cancer diagnosis and their cancer case may be treated with proton beams, the patient may get an offer for this treatment. Should they accept, the patient will undergo several sessions to destroy their cancer cells and tumors. During each of these sessions, the patient will first have their X-rays taken, so that the cancer clinic doctors may determine the shape, size, and location of the cancerous growth so they know where to operate with the proton beam. Once this is done, the patient may be escorted into the treatment room itself, where the synchrotron is. The patient may lay down on a table or sit down in a seat, depending on the cancer’s location, and they will be asked to not move during the procedure.
Now, the doctors will adjourn to another room, where they remotely operate the synchrotron and move the proton beam as needed. The beam will destroy those cells on contact, while having little to no effect on cells nearby or behind the affected area. The beam’s usage lasts for only two or three minutes at most, and the patient may expect to spend 45 minutes or so at the clinic overall. They may visit a few times until their cancerous growth is completely eradicated. The patient may expect minor side effect such as red or itchy skin, blisters, or minor swelling after the beam’s usage.