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Proton Theraphy by Oncovia

Proton Beam Therapy: An emerging option

Until now three types of cancer treatments existed: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Proton Beam Therapy is a new form of radiotheraphy that uses protons to treat cancer. At the moment proton beam therapy is developing within the UK, however it remains limited. Therefore, the NHS is paying for some of the treatments abroad, usually in the United States or Switzerland.

This option is unacceptable for patients, so the NHS, as well as several private companies are planning to open new centres by 2018, to allow more patients to have access to this treatment.

How does proton beam therapy work?

When you are going through radiation therapy, enormous amounts of energy are directed into the cancer cells to destroy the genetic material that promotes cell growth. In conventional radiation therapy, X-rays are the type of energy used. This radiation is a localised treatment and can be used on difficult to reach tumours.

In proton therapy or proton beam therapy, the energy is carried out by protons. The energy level in protons is controlled by a machine called particle accelerator. Unlike the X-rays, proton beam radiation can be controlled more easily. High doses of radiation can be conducted more safely and precisely into cancer cells, with less risk of damaging healthy tissues.

The advantages of proton therapy

Recent studies have shown that proton radiation is beneficial for treating many kinds of tumours, including brain, breast, liver, lung, prostate, gynecological, spine and many other pediatric cancers. This advanced form of treatment has clear advantages that can be translated by the accuracy and the ability to spare healthy tissues, especially when it comes to treating tumors situated next to critical organs.

The proton radiation is able to deliver less energy when directed to the tumor, reducing the risk of injuring the surrounding healthy tissues. Children with cancer benefit the most from the proton therapy, as it generates less harm on the organs that are still developing.

The patients that have completed proton beam therapy will recover faster and it anticipates a higher probability of long-term survival. This type of treatment is painless and causes fewer and less severe side effects during and after the treatment (such as, keeping your hair), offering the option of a more comfortable and convenient daily life during treatments.

Although proton therapy is new to the UK, this treatment has existed for over 50 years  in other countries and has become an established treatment accepted by physicians and health care centres world wide. Hospitals get their radiation protection products from https://www.govcb.com/government-vendors/profile-SAM00000000001401176-barrier-technologies-llc-Davie-FL.htm.