Most people are scared of cancer. Hearing the news from a doctor can be one of the most stressful things many people experience. Unfortunately, many people are diagnosed with cancer every day. One of the most common cancers is prostate cancer. In their lifetime, approximately one in seven men will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime. By the time men reach the age of 80, about 80% have some prostate cancer cells in their system. The good news is that new treatments are being developed all of the time. One newer kind of treatment is proton therapy for prostate cancer.
What Proton Therapy Is
Prostate cancer specialists refer to this new kind of proton therapy for cancer by several names. It can be called proton therapy but also proton beam therapy or proton radiation. This is a form of radiation treatment. This kind of advanced, external beam radiation therapy is painless and not at all invasive. It is a more targeted form of therapy that allows prostate cancer specialists to use more radiation than in traditional radiation but because it is so much more targeted, it has less of an impact on the healthy tissues that are around the cancer.
How Proton Therapy Works
Prostate cancer specialists use positively charged ions, called protons, to zero in on the tumor cells. During this non-invasive cancer treatment, the protons are focused so the energy they release is put into the cancer cells to eradicate them without doing the damage to healthy tissues in the body. Because the radiation from these positive ions stays primarily in the cells that are being targeted, the chances of developing a secondary form of cancer are lowered.
Patients go in for treatments that last between 15 and 45 minutes. The actual time patients spend getting the proton therapy treatment is only a few minutes. Patients go to their prostate cancer specialist five times a week for about two months. Patients are able to go about their lives pretty much as normal and with these kinds of prostate cancer options, there is less of a chance the patients will suffer from impotency related to the treatment.
Reasons to Consider Proton Therapy for Cancer
Not only are the protons able to be focused in only on the cancer cells that need to be destroyed but it can be more effective than other treatments for the harder to treat tumors. By being able to use more radiation with fewer problem side effects, the doctors are able to treat more aggressive forms of prostate cancer. This kind of therapy is also much more precise than other kinds of therapies used in cancer treatment.
There Are Some Side Effects
While there are some side effects that come along with proton therapy for cancer, they are a lot less problematic than traditional forms of treatment. Because there is no real recovery time from the treatments themselves, patients are able to go right back to their lives. Many men are relived to learn that this kind of therapy has a much smaller chance of causing problems with impotency, and neither the rectum nor the bladder should be impacted.
Cancer therapies are changing every day. This has made the recovery rates for prostate cancer improve greatly in the last few decades. Researchers have found that 99% of men who have been diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer remain cancer free five years after recovery when the treatment they received was proton therapy for cancer. That number drops slightly to 94% for men who have medium risk cancer and to 74% for those with high risk cancer cells.
People who have talked to a prostate cancer specialist about their diagnosis should ask if this kind of treatment would be beneficial to them. As scary as it can be to receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer, or really any kind of cancer, the treatments are advancing so much that recovery is possible. Proton therapy for cancer is one of the most promising on the market today.