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Proton Therapy  

Radiation therapy is a very commonly used procedure to treat different forms of cancer. There are a number of different types of radiation therapy which are used to help maximize the effectiveness of this type of treatment. We will be discussing proton therapy and explain this procedure, side effects and potential complications as well as expected results. 


Proton therapy is one of the more advanced types of radiation therapy.  Many conventional radiation therapies rely on an x-ray beam which can direct radiation energy at a cancerous tumor or tissues.  The problem is that this radiation not only is directed at the tumor but the radiation along the path of the beam also emits energy such that healthy tissues and cells can be affected as well. 


Proton therapy is able to use a beam of protons which can deliver its radiation directly to the tumor.  In this way it can be very effective at killing cancer cells while minimizing the damage to healthy cells.  The protons are able to enter the body with low doses of radiation and maximize this dosage right at the tumor and nowhere else. 


Proton therapy can be very effective in treating tumors which have well defined borders.  It is therefore best suited for cancers which have not spread beyond the organs it initially affected.  It can also be a very good course of treatment for tumors which would be very difficult to access and remove surgically.  The use of this kind of treatment can kill the cancer within the tumor itself and hopefully completely remove all traces of the disease without surgical intervention. 


An advantage of this type of radiation treatment is that it can be used to apply higher doses of radiation than is what could normally be dispensed.  This is because it can direct most of the energy directly at the tumor without affecting surrounding tissue.   


Proton therapy is a popular treatment option for prostate cancer.  This type of radiation therapy has some compelling benefits including the ability to treat the cancer without surgery and the ability to deliver high dosages of radiation to the tumor with little to no impact on healthy tissue.  This can be of great benefit when it comes to minimizing the side effects of this type of treatment such as impotence. 


And it should be noted that there are no confirmed studies which can clearly show superior benefits to this kind of treatment versus other forms of radiation therapy.  However one study regarding its benefit it prostate cancer treatment is currently underway. 


It should also be noted that this type of therapy is very expensive.  The equipment alone requires a substantial investment which makes it impractical for all but the larger metro areas that have a sizeable enough patient base to justify the investment in this type of equipment. 

However there are treatment centers that have the knowledge and expertise to utilize the ability of this treatment option to direct most of its energy at the tumor to be treated and minimally affect surrounding tissue.  These centers aim to maximize the benefits from this type of treatment and minimize the anticipated side effects which can be very similar to those found with any other kind of radiation treatment option. 


The technology has been around for over 40 years so there is good understanding and experience with it.  And there will continue to be refinements and improvements both in the equipment and with the techniques used in order to achieve the best possible results. 


Proton therapy is an advanced type of radiation treatment that uses a beam of protons to deliver radiation directly to the tumor, destroying cancer cells while sparing healthy tissues. Protons enter the body with a low radiation dose, stop at the tumor, match its shape and volume or depth, and deposit the bulk of their cancer-fighting energy right at the tumor.