Proton Beam Therapy Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Proton therapy for prostate cancer treatment is essentially radiation treatment that is a little bit different than standard radiation therapy. Ordinarily, radiation treatment uses ionizing radiation on cancerous cells, and if given in sufficient doses, it will control most cases of prostate cancer. However proton therapy does have a few advantages over regular radiotherapy, which is most significantly the higher accuracy that it offers, which reduces healthy tissue damage. Proton therapy also offers significantly fewer side effects and lower risk of secondary cancer; it promises non-invasiveness therapy because no incisions or cuts are made in order to remove the cancer; and it allows for what you will call a painless outpatient procedure.

Standard radiation treatments often caused a lot of undesirable side effects because of the difficulty of adequately conforming to the irradiation to the cancers. This resulted in too many other tissues and cells in the body getting damaged during the course of treatment, and the patient remaining ill for weeks after the procedure is concluded. It therefore became imperative that something be done to improve the spate of healthy tissues that may be damaged with radiation so that the usual less-than-desired dose employed in the therapy would not continue.

Proton therapy is a type of particle therapy that uses a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue in the treatment of various forms of cancer. With regard to carcinoma of the prostate, you can think of the procedure as an improvement on external beam radiotherapy, which works by aiming the energetic ionizing particles onto the target tumor. In this instance however, the ionizing particles would be protons accelerated with a particle accelerator, and not a linear accelerator as in the case of external beam treatment. When the particles hit the cells, they damage their DNA, ultimately causing their apoptosis, or cell death. Again, just as is the case with standard radiotherapy, cancerous cells are particularly more vulnerable to the irradiation because of their high rate of division. Thus they are unable to repair damaged DNA while healthier cells can and do.

Proton Beam Therapy controls radiation while inside the body so that the administering physician can bring fuller or higher doses to the cancer while sparing nearby healthy tissues and organs. In addition, a study concluded in 2008 showed that proton therapy patients are less likely to develop secondary cancers than those exposed to standard radiation treatment by as much as fifty percent.

Using high-energy protons for medical treatment in such a manner was first proposed as far back as 1946 when protons were first used to treat patients with certain cancers. It has been decades now and the benefits of it have lonely gotten more obvious so that they can now be offered for all kinds of cancers. All of a sudden, there is a brighter light at the end of the long dark tunnel for prostate cancer patients in treatment.

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