Most people dread getting a diagnosis of cancer but every year millions of people are. In 2014, it was estimated that there were about 14,738,719 people were struggling with cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute. According to them, data from between 2012 and 2014, showed that nearly 38.5% of all men and women will get such a diagnosis during their lives. The good news is that research is going on all over the world to get better therapies and treatments for cancer. For example for a long time getting radiation treatment for cancer was one of the main ways to deal with it. That treatment has evolved into proton therapy, that is effectively a more effective form of radiation treatment for cancer.
Since 2015, the number of proton therapy centers has grown tremendously. Just three years ago there were only 30i such centers in the world. Today, there are more than 80 specialized centers that offer proton treatment to cancer patients and more are being built all over the planet.
Proton Therapy vs. Radiation Treatment for Cancer:
As was noted, proton therapy is really a more advanced and specialized form of radiation treatment for cancer. In the same way that x-rays have been used to kill cancer cells, prevent their growth and division, protons can be used to do the very same thing. Protons are particles with a positive charge. This is in contrast to photons that are the mainstay of radiation therapy.
With traditional radiation therapy, the person is bombarded with photons to go in and destroy the tumor cells. When the charged atomic particles are used in the place of the photons, doctors can send more radiation to the site. They can be more precise in determining the tissue that will be hit. That means that it has an impact on at least 60% of the healthy tissue that surrounds the cancer cells.
Because the beams are more targeted, doctors can also drench the cancer cells in a much higher dose of radiation. That makes it more effective in killing the cancerous cells. This also means that there is a lot less dangerous to healthy cells.
The Benefits of Proton Therapy:
- There are fewer side effects. Most people dread their cancer treatments because of all of the side effects involved. When a smaller amount of healthy tissue is impacted, the chance to have harsh side effects is greatly reduced.
- There are fewer secondary tumors. As a corollary of the fact that proton therapy for cancer harms fewer healthy cells, they are not damaged by the radiation and the chances of developing a new cancer after the treatment is reduced. This is important because of all of the children who are treated with radiation treatment for cancer. This can have a detrimental impact on their future health.
- It can be used for harder to treat cancers. Every year, about 23,800 adults and 4,830 children develop cancers of the brain and of the spinal cord. The majority impact the brain. It can be very hard to operate on tumors of the spinal column and the brain. The same can be said of other cancers such as the eye. Proton therapy for brain cancer can be very promising for these adults and children.
- When cancer comes back, proton therapy can be very effective. Proton radiation therapy can be used when cancer comes back. This cannot be said of all treatments for cancer. This gives cancer patients more hope when they experience remission and then a new cancer diagnosis that they still have a chance.
- It can be very beneficial for people who have prostate cancer and breast cancer. When men have proton therapy for prostate cancer, they will have fewer reproductive problems afterward because of the limited scope of the cells that are being bombarded with the protons.
Modern medicine has not yet been able to discover a cure for all of the kinds of cancers that plague people all over the planet today. The good news is that real progress is being made to develop new treatments that hold more progress to helping people recover from cancer, lead better lives and have a better experience while they are in treatment.