Proton Therapy- A Less Harmful Option?
Alternative Treatment Proves to be Less Harmful to Breast Cancer Patients
Breast cancer impacts the lives of many women, men, and their families across the country. In fact, the National Breast Cancer Foundation says that by the end of 2017, 246,660 women and 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, but some pose a higher risk than others. In order to decide which treatment is best for a patient's breast cancer, where their cancer is located must be considered. For example, if a patient has the cancer in their left breast, that area comes dangerously close to the heart. In terms of treatment, traditional radiation could harm that vital organ.
Proton Therapy Could Be the Answer
Proton therapy has been used for more than 50 years and has been available in hospitals since the early 1990s. Scientists have been using this treatment for a long time, and have made adjustments and updates over the past 20 years for highly targeted, highly effective results.
In cases of breast cancer with higher risk, patients tend to turn to proton therapy to avoid any cardiovascular harm. Proton therapy is able to target cancer cells while leaving the cardiovascular system alone.
What Makes Proton Therapy Different?
Even though it is a form of radiation, proton therapy for breast cancer is a bit different. It is more targeted, as it goes right into the tumor site and reduces radiation harm to other major organs like the heart and lungs. Some other unique properties of proton therapy include:
Minimal to no side effects, unlike other forms of radiation therapy
Safe to use in conjunction with other forms of cancer treatment
Classified as "site specific" cancer treatment, doing little or no damage to tissues surrounding cancerous cells
Currently considered one of the most effective and advanced forms of cancer treatment
As you can see, proton therapy boasts its fair share of benefits. And while it can be used in conjunction with other forms of cancer treatment, it is one of the most effective forms of therapy all on its own.
What Are the Risks?
For high-risks cases of breast cancer, patients tend to have good luck with proton therapy. Since it targets only specific cells, it’s only going to destroy what it’s meant to destroy. The potential risk for harm to other parts of the body is greatly reduced using this method and the chance of any future diseases or complications is practically gone once a patient enters remission.
Is Proton Therapy Right for You?
There are 25 proton therapy centers in the United States. Currently, 19 more centers are in development and 72 centers are fully operational worldwide. As more centers begin to open across the U.S. and around the world, greater numbers of breast cancer patients will be able to receive this low-risk, highly effective treatment. Not only that, but researchers will have more resources to advance cancer treatment technology.
It may not be a cure, but proton therapy is bringing the world one step closer to becoming cancer free.
Guest Editor: Kristin Rakoczy
Kristin Rakoczy is the Marketing, Content, and PR Manager for Provision Healthcare, LLC., Kristin is passionate about educating her community and region on the benefits of proton therapy, and sharing the stories of former proton therapy patients who tout Provision as a premier medical destination for cancer treatment and care. She is actively involved in many local organizations and fundraising for the Provision CARES Foundation that serves cancer patients and their families in East Tennessee.