The average cancer treatment center has a variety of options available for breast cancer treatment, and new treatments are being innovated all the time. Among advanced cancer treatment options is proton therapy, with potential as an effective non-invasive cancer treatment. Read on to learn more about proton therapy for breast cancer treatment.
What is Proton Beam Therapy?
A form of radiation treatment, proton beam therapy differs from traditional radiation in that the beam stops at a specific point within targeted tissues instead of continuing beyond the target tissue to affect healthy tissue. Each treatment session for proton beam therapy normally takes between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on specifics of the tumor being treated. Only during one to two of these minutes, however, is actual radiation being delivered at the tumor.
What Are The Advantages of Proton Beam For Breast Cancer Treatment?
The great advantage of proton therapy is that it minimizes exposure to radiation for healthy tissues while still effectively targeting tumor tissue. For breast cancer treatment, for example, in contrast with conventional radiation, no radiation typically reaches the heart, while the lungs are exposed to 50% less than they would be with traditional treatments. The same holds true for other cancers, as well. For all kinds of cancers, proton beam results in approximately a 59% lower radiation dose to the gastrointestinal area than traditional radiation.
Is Proton Beam Therapy Used For Other Cancers?
Proton beam therapy is used as a breast cancer treatment, but it is also used effectively against other cancers, such as cancers of the brain or the prostate. Prostate cancer patients have a significantly reduced risk of developing impotence when compared to conventional radiation therapy, and 94% of men treated with proton beam therapy are able to remain sexually active. Proton radiation therapy also has the potential for treating brain tumors such as glioblastomas, which make up about 15% of all brain tumors.
Where Is Proton Beam Therapy Available?
At the start of 2015 there were 80 proton beam therapy treatment rooms under construction, in 30 therapy centers around the world. There are also clinical trials underway in places like Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Loma Linda University Medical Center in California. Proton beam therapy centers continue to expand and build as the potential of this therapy becomes increasingly clear.
Proton beam therapy is not only proving to be an effective possibility for cancer treatment, but also a treatment that minimizes side effects, allowing a better quality of life for patients.