If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, your doctor may recommend standard treatments, such as chemo or radiation therapy. Before you agree to a treatment regimen, discuss the opportunity and benefits of proton therapy for your type of cancer.
Chemotherapy is a systemic form of treatment, which, when effective, destroys cancer cells but also kills healthy cells. More targeted, traditional radiation therapy can also damage healthy cells if they are within the treatment area. Some people also experience skin concerns, such as thinning or ulceration, while undergoing radiation therapy. Proton therapy allows the most targeted approach of cancer treatment. This means fewer healthy cells are destroyed during treatment.
Fewer Side Effects
If proton therapy is an option or your situation, you can expect fewer side effects. One of the many concerns with cancer treatment is whether treatment will adversely affect employment and lifestyle. With fewer side effects, you may be able to continue with your employment and family obligations, and worry less about the financial impact of lost income.
Additionally, fewer side effects as a result of proton therapy can also reduce serious complications associated with some forms of cancer treatment. Dangerous drops in platelet counts are a possibility with chemotherapy and can increase the risk of bleeding. Additionally, decreases in white blood cells increases the risk of life-threatening infections.
More Treatment Options
If you have been through several rounds of chemotherapy or radiation treatment without success, you may feel like you are out of options. For some types of cancer that respond better to higher doses of radiation, the dose of radiation may have been intolerable for the patient, forcing them to stop treatment. Due to the targeted approach of proton therapy, higher levels of radiation can be used with fewer concerns of organ damage.
Proton therapy is often used for tumors considered to be inoperable or when surgical removal is initially too risky. Tumors with clear borders that have not infiltrated the neighboring tissue and have not metastasized may be a candidate for proton therapy. This is the ideal situation for cancers of the brain. Depending on the location of some brain cancers, they may be embedded too deeply within the brain to safely remove without the risk of hemorrhage or severe brain damage. The opportunity for proton therapy offers renewed hope to patients who may have otherwise been limited to managing symptoms.
There are several benefits to trying proton therapy for various types of cancer. Discuss with an oncology specialist whether proton therapy is an option for your specific type of cancer and if it is a better option than conventional treatments.