Types of Cancer That Can Be Treated With Proton Therapy
Proton therapy for cancer treatment is a type of radiation therapy that uses protons instead of X-rays. It is preferred by many physicians because it allows them to precisely aim the highest dose to the tumor while minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissues and vital organs. It also reduces the risks of side effects.
Since proton therapy is non-invasive, non-surgical, and highly precise, it is an ideal treatment for some cancers, especially those that haven’t spread yet to other parts of the body. So, what types of cancer can be treated using proton therapy?
- Prostate Cancer
One of the most common types of cancer among American men is prostate cancer. According to research, about one out of every nine men will develop this disease during their lifetime. It usually occurs after the age of 50. Fortunately, approximately 80 percent are diagnosed at a localized stage, which means that proton therapy might still be able to treat it.
- Breast Cancer
There are many types of breast cancer, but ductal carcinoma and lobular carcinoma are the most common. They occur in the ducts and lobules of the breast, respectively.
Proton therapy is an ideal treatment, especially for left-sided breast cancer, as it is close to critical organs like the heart and lungs. Through proton therapy, physicians can precisely target the tumor and reduce the exposure of the nearby organs to radiation.
- Lung Cancer
While prostate and breast are some of the most common types of cancers, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in North America. 90 percent of lung cancer cases are due to cigarette smoking.
One of the dangers of lung cancer is that it only shows signs and symptoms when it has already advanced significantly. Some of these symptoms include headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood.
- Pancreatic Cancer
Aside from lung cancer, pancreatic cancer is also one of the leading causes of cancer death in the US. Cigarette smoking is also the biggest risk factor for this disease. It often impacts those with diabetes and those who are overweight.
Like lung cancer, the symptoms of pancreatic cancer only occur when it has already advanced. These indicators include depression, loss of appetite, weight loss, blood clots, and upper abdominal pain.
- Liver Cancer
This cancer occurs when a tumor grows in the liver. Liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma is said to be the most serious type of cancer in adults as it is responsible for the death of 12,000 people per year in the US. Its symptoms include fever, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and abdominal discomfort.
- Other Gastrointestinal Cancers
Aside from the pancreas and liver, gastrointestinal cancer usually occurs in the stomach, esophagus, colon, and anywhere within the digestive tract. Since gastrointestinal cancer is close to sensitive structures, a combination of treatments is required to destroy the tumor. These procedures may include proton therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
This type of cancer develops in connective tissues like bone, fat, muscles, nerves, cartilage, and blood vessels. Soft tissue sarcomas are prevalent in adults, while bone sarcomas are more common in children.
The National Cancer Institute said that about 12,000 cases of soft tissue sarcoma and 3,000 cases of bone sarcoma are diagnosed in the US every year. The risk factors of Sarcoma include genetic disorders, chemical exposure, and long-term swelling in the arms or legs.
Proton Therapy Can Be Used to Treat Other Types of Cancer
Proton therapy for cancer treatment has been a really big help in treating many types of cancer. Aside from the ones listed above, there are other cancers that proton therapy can treat. This includes head, neck, and oral cancers, brain and spine cancers, pediatric cancers, esophageal cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, and more. Researchers are still trying to find out what other types of cancer can be treated using proton therapy.
If you’re suffering from any of the cancers mentioned above, consider getting treated with proton therapy. This way, you won’t have to worry too much about negative side effects during and after the treatment. You can find plenty of centers in the US that are now using this advanced radiation treatment.