A malignant tumor is severely painful and life threatening. However, there is an answer to this issue through a treatment known as proton therapy which neatly eliminates this tumor with clockwork precision. The procedure doesn’t have any harmful side effects and neither does it cause any damage to your vital organs surrounding the site of the cancerous growth.
Proton therapy made global headlines when the 5 year old child Asha King was removed by her parents against the advice of her doctors in a UK hospital and was admitted to a hospital in Prague. She received proton beam therapy here and was completely cured. The saga of this astounding medical breakthrough in cancer treatment has become a legend since then.
What is proton beam therapy?
This is a class of particle therapy where a beam of protons is employed to eliminate ailing tissues mostly done in the treatment of cancer. The main beneficial consequence of proton therapy is its potential to locate precisely the quantum of radiation dosage when compared with other types of external beam radio therapy.
This treatment specifically concentrates on the site of the disease that is the site of the malignant growth without harming the surrounding healthy tissues and the organs.
Proton therapy is employed on localized tumors which are not spread around. The precision of focus is possible because the subatomic particles release most of the destructive energy beneath the skin at the tumor’s depth rather than near the skin surface.
Proton therapy treats the following types of cancer although this list is not exhaustive:
Brain and spinal cord:
– isolated brain metastases
– pituitary adenomas
Base of the skull:
– Acoustic neuromas
– Uveal melanoma
Head and neck:
– oropharynx cancer
Chest and abdomen: Early lung cancer
Pelvic region: prostate cancer
Tumor in children: brain tumor
What’s different about proton beam therapy?
Proton beam therapy is different for the following highly significant reasons:
– Instead of focusing high energy x rays on the diseased site it uses a stream of positively charged protons.
– Proton streams carry a lot of energy and have equally good potential to destroy the cell DNA’s.
-Unlike X- Rays, proton beams lose their energy faster as soon as they penetrate the tissues. Consequently, the bulk of the energy released into the tumor doesn’t cause any side effects on the surrounding healthy cells.
– Proton beams can be oriented into 3- dimensional space occupied by a tumor. It uses complex equipment and computer guided technology.
The above features have made proton beam therapy the best form of radiation treatment.
Why we need proton beam therapy?
The following are the factors that support the need to have PBT:
– It reduces the harmful long-term side effects of radiotherapy and hence the best medical procedure around.
– Post treatment, the patient gets back to normal performance with the same potential as they had been doing before the malignant disease took over.
– Compared to the traditional radiotherapy, much lesser area of the brain gets exposed to radiation in case of PBT. The case is well exemplified in retinoblastoma, the cancer of the eye.
-PBT pinpoints on localized area with high level of precision. Hence the radiation gets no chance to come in contact with the brain that lies beneath the eye sockets.
Proton beam therapy abroad
-By 2017, UK will open PBT centers in London, Cardiff and in Northumberland.
-The PBT centre in Prague, Czech Republic has become legendary overnight after the miracle recovery of the 5 year old baby.
-There has been a phenomenal growth of PBT centers in Boston, Houston and Bloomington in the US.
-Other countries where PBT centers are developed are in Canada, China, Japan, Sweden, France, Germany and Switzerland.
The activities of these clinical centers are coordinated by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Proton Therapy Cooperative Group.