About Proton Beam Therapy
Proton therapy, also called as proton beam therapy, is a non-invasive treatment for cancer which uses proton particles to destroy tumours. The procedure is similar to radiotherapy, but using microscopic particles rather than energy waves to target cancerous cells.
Proton therapy is currently only available in a small number of specialists centres around the world, as it requires highly specialises equipment. Due to the specialised equipment and expertise, the cost of proton therapy is higher than alternatives such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The cost of proton therapy can range from around 35,000 USD to over 75,000 USD.
Proton therapy is an increasingly recognised and preferred method in the world. In visionary terms, we could predict with a relatively high degree of probability that proton bean irradiation will replace now frequently used conventional radiation therapy in the future.
Proton therapy is recommended for certain types of cancer, particularly tumours near to sensitive areas, as the proton beam can be very targeted, damaging less healthy tissue than other therapies.
Cancers that may be treatable using proton therapy include:
- Paediatric tumours
- Prostate cancer
- Head & Neck cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Anal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Gastrointestinal cancer
- Brain tumours
- Certain eye cancers
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Starting treatment early is the key for success of any treatment; as a less advanced disease is easier to treat.
The special advantage of proton beam therapy, compared to conventional photon radiotherapy is based on a different, more favourable distribution of radiation doses in the body (a ‘dosimetric’ benefit). The exact dose distribution has its name: Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS) and is currently the absolute peak of proton therapy.
PBS works such that it only irradiated a defined area and nothing more. By delivering repeated high-precision radiation targeted with millimetre accuracy directly to the tumour bed after resection, PBS destroys the tumour cells without damaging any surrounding organs and tissues due to the physical properties of the protons. Hence PBS preserved healthy tissue. This also applies to the tissues in the direction of the beam in from of the tumour; which are only minimally irradiated.
Proton beam therapy is a safe treatment modality with the use of state-of-the-art equipment to provide proton therapy. We can even treat turps for which radiation treatment was complicated and associated with high risk. Thee include tumours of the oesophagus, pancreas, liver and rectal sphincter.
High-speed charged protons are directed at the tissue through a particle accelerator. Different body parts require different speeds of accelerated particles. For example, treatment of the eye the proton bean does not need to travel as quickly, whereas for treating body parts such as prostate or lungs, highly accelerated particles are required. Hence depending on the type of cancer being treated, more powerful equipment could be needed.
This treatment is performed on a outpatient basis mostly without the need for hospitalisation. Hence it will be scheduled at specific days and times reserved for you.
Precise planning is the key and essential requirement for the success of treatment. Therefore, the team of clinical physicists and doctors will prepare a tailored radiation plan for each patient.
The proton beams are delivered in such a way to target the timor, layer by layer, to a minute level of detail. In this time, the team will be able to communicate with you via a sound and video link-up.
Anaesthesia: No anaesthesia is required, and the patient should not feel pain during the treatment.
Procedure duration: Depending on the size and position of the tumour, treatment usually last around 15 minutes. The total time you will spend in the centre should not exceed an hour.