Proton Therapy is a relatively newer form of cancer treatment. It has shown remarkable promise and advantages over conventional therapy in the treatment of breast cancer.
Proton radiation therapy is non-invasive treatment that offers a low-risk option for early breast cancer patients. It has less impact on the healthy tissue near the tumor site that is being treated with the proton therapy. This is because the proton goes directly in to the tumor with pinpoint precision and stays within the tumor. This is unlike traditional therapies that have an exit point. Compared to traditional radiation, proton therapy does not leave any burn marks and does not cause any cosmetic or tissue damage.
Image Credit: University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute
Researchers and physicians stress that proton therapy is not a replacement for a lumpectomy but rather a less toxic path of treatment afterwards. At a proton therapy center, the average breast cancer patient will receive a 30 minute to 1 hour per day for a total of 10 days of proton treatment on an outpatient basis. Compared to radiation and/or chemotherapy which require at least 5 to 7 weeks of treatment, proton therapy allows the patient a faster approach to treatment.
Other strong points for Proton Therapy leading the way as a new treatment are:
- Treatment offers faster recovery time with minimal side effects
- Pain-less for most patients
- Little to no hair loss
- Proton radiation has little to no impact on patient energy levels
Currently in the United States there are 12 Proton Therapy Centers with several more in the planning stages at leading treatment hospitals and facilities.
Current operating centers include:
- MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Proton Center, Houston, TX
- James M. Slater, M.D. Proton Treatment and Research Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA
- The University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute, Jacksonville, FL
- ProCure Proton Therapy Center, Oklahoma City, OK
- Francis H. Burr Proton Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
- CDH Proton Center, Chicago Area, IL
- Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, Hampton, VA
- Indiana University Health Proton Therapy Center, Bloomington, IN
- ProCure Proton Therapy Center in partnership with Princeton Radiation Oncology Group and CentraState Healthcare System, Somerset, NJ
- The Roberts Proton Therapy Center at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA
- SCCA Proton Therapy, A ProCure Center, Seattle, WA
- The Provision Center for Proton Therapy, Knoxsville, TN