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Proton Therapy: A Recent Breakthrough In Cancer Treatment

We all are familiar with the global growing cancer burden, but technology is not behind in bringing breakthroughs. To counter the growing threat of cancer, a boon in the form of  Proton therapy treatment in India has been initiated. 

Proton therapy is an advanced method of delivering radiation treatment to cancerous tumors. Protons have a unique characteristic in which they interact with the human body and deliver curative radiation doses. Furthermore, it reduces the doses to healthy tissues and organs, which reduces complications and side effects that can be seen in standard radiation therapy.

It is important to understand how proton therapy works so that you can get a clear insight into the clinical benefits of this therapy. 

How Proton Therapy Works? 

Proton therapy makes use of protons in place of x-rays to treat the tumor. In the conventional radiation treatment, the beam of energy enters into the body by way of a tumor and comes out the other side. Therefore, that exact dose of radiation can have a negative impact on your healthy tissues. In contrast to this, protons are larger particles and release more of their energy within the tumor itself. The burst of energy may appear on the graph called Bragg peak.  

Once this energy enters the tumor, it stops and does not exit the tumor or get into the healthy tissues on the other side. Because of this, proton therapy reduces the radiation exposure and probable damage to healthy tissues. In this way, sensitive areas like the brain, heart, spinal cord, and blood vessels are not harmed.

What Are The Clinical Benefits Of Proton Therapy? 

  • In the procedure of Proton therapy treatment in India, Proton Therapy carries less radiation to healthy tissues and organs. It eventually results in less severe short-term and long-term side effects when compared to standard radiation therapy.  
  • As this treatment involves fewer side effects and fewer complications. The physician can probably provide higher curative radiation doses to cancerous tumors.  
  • According to several studies, proton therapy has a greater survival rate than other radiation treatment modalities. 
  • Studies have also proved that the chances of developing secondary cancer in the future is significantly low in proton therapy.  
  • According to many studies, patients who recovered from proton therapy experience a higher quality of life both at the time of pre and post-treatment. 
  • Studies have shown that proton therapy is the only treatment that can cure recurrent tumors which have been previously treated with radiation. 
  • Proton therapy treatments are painless and non-invasive. The whole Proton therapy treatment only takes around 15 to 45 minutes.  
  • In proton therapy treatment centers, Proton therapy can also treat pediatric tumors. Studies have found that this treatment only aims at beaming on the tumor in order to avoid growth abnormalities, cardiac damage, and cognitive impairment. It also controls any other kind of complication in the future. So, children can also take this treatment after consulting their physicians.

These are some of the unique benefits of proton therapy which leads to less harmful side effects. The treatment also focuses on impacting the tumor directly. 

Cancers Treated With Proton Therapy.

Many Doctors in  proton therapy treatment centres in India say, Proton therapy can treat tumors that have not extended and are close to important body parts. For example, cancers close to the brain and spinal cord. Moreover, this therapy also impacts fully in treating children as it lessens the chance of harming healthy tissues. So, children can also take proton therapy for brain and spinal cord cancer.   

Proton therapy is useful in treating some other cancers, including: 

  • Cancer of the eye like retinoblastoma and orbital rhabdomyosarcoma.
  • Cancer of the central nervous system, which includes malignant meningioma, chondrosarcoma, and chordoma. 
  • Lung cancer
  • Head and neck cancers 
  • Liver cancer
  • Spinal and pelvic cancer which transpire in the soft tissue and bone. 
  • Prostate cancer
  • Non-cancerous brain tumours 

Who Will Be Involved In This Procedure?

In proton therapy treatment centres, Proton beam therapy also requires a proper treatment team like any other form of external beam therapy. The team includes a radiation oncologist, radiation therapist, radiation physicist, dosimetrist, and nurse. When all these physicians work together, they are able to better deliver the prescribed dose. 

Equipment Used 

Special machines called cyclotron and synchrotron most commonly used machines in beam therapy. These machines produce and speed up protons to accelerate up to 60% of the speed of light. It takes energies of around 250 million electron volts. Then the protons are navigated by magnets bringing them to the treatment room. Then to a specific part of the body that requires treatment. Considering older proton machines, some additional pieces of equipment are also required for modifying the range of protons and beam shape. However, the new machines make the same kind of adjustment by fine-tuning the magnetic fields and energy of the beam that guides their path. The modifications give direction to the proton beam to locate an accurate place in the body where the energy delivered, and tumor cells destroyed. 

Side Effects And Associated Risks

Doctors who work at a proton therapy treatment centre  say, You will not experience any pain during the treatment, but you may probably experience fatigue. Skin problems like swelling, redness, dryness, peeling, or blistering can also occur. 

Some patients can also observe other side effects in case they are receiving chemotherapy. Also, the side effects of proton beam therapy depend on the treated body part, tumor size, and the types of healthy tissues near the tumor. You should ask your healthcare team to inform you about all the side effects that can likely affect you. To ensure you get the safest treatment, look for the best proton therapy treatment centre in India.

Some of the drawbacks related to proton therapy are: 

  • The therapy uses highly specialized and costly equipment which are not available at all of the cancer treatment centres in India. 
  • It may probably cause more than radiation therapy, and if you don’t have any insurance cover, you may be required to pay a lot. So, this treatment is not affordable to all.  
  • Proton therapy cannot treat all types of cancers. 

Recovery From Proton Therapy

Once you are treated with the proton beam therapy, you can go home and resume your activities. However, for some tumors, your physician may order tests to check how the treatment is affecting the tumor, and if there is any problem, he will adjust your treatment accordingly.

Takeaway

Many physicians consider proton beam therapy as a safe and effective method to treat various types of cancers. However, the biggest drawback is that it is a costly treatment and not available in many hospitals. You can search for a proton therapy treatment in India to find out if there is any near you. 

Furthermore, this treatment is costly but considering its result; it is worth paying. Proton beam therapy improves your health and quality of life, radioing future complications and adverse side effects of conventional treatments. 

According to a researcher report in 2018, there is a lot to develop in this technology in order to prove the effectiveness of this treatment. With further development, this treatment can be useful for many other cancers. If you are interested in knowing more about this therapy, you should speak to your physician about it. 

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