Note: This is the first in a monthly series of blogs that will be authored by Dr. Ben Wilkinson, radiation oncologist and medical director for Provision Center for Proton Therapy. Dr. Wilkinson will cover a variety of topics related to proton therapy treatment and cancer care.
For some years now, the damage conventional radiation can do to the hearts of breast cancer patients has been documented in the medical literature.
Now, we’re seeing the same effects in lung cancer patients.
It was into a 32-mile run that traverses three 6,000-foot balds in the Western North Carolina mountains that Doug Blackford realized something: he had just completed his 32nd proton therapy treatment for prostate cancer.
A recently released national survey reported that men treated for prostate cancer who received proton therapy experienced significantly better quality of life during and after treatment than those treated with surgery or traditional x-ray therapy. The survey carried out via phone and online, by Bryant Research profiled 755 men, ages 50-75, who were surveyed at least 12 months after treatment.
Patients who received proton therapy were significantly more likely than those who received brachytherapy, surgery or traditional x-ray therapy to report treatment did not interfere with sexual function. They also described feeling better during treatment and better outcomes with respect to urinary function, bowel function, digestive function and the ability to stay active.
When Terry Vinson first felt a small grown the size of a pinkie fingertip on his neck, he dismissed it as a harmless cyst.
Even two weeks later, when it had doubled into the size of a thumb and then doubled again the following week, he had not yet sought medical help.
“I’m in medical sales,” Vinson says. “I should have known better.”
Not all proton therapy is alike.
Recent technology developments have made delivery of protons more precise, making it an ideal treatment option for a much larger number of tumors. Breast cancer is top of the list.
The spotlight recently shone on proton therapy by the International Journal of Radiation Oncology-Biology-Physics, known as the Red Journal, marks a milestone in its recognition as an established treatment for cancer.
It also holds good news for patients considering their treatment options.
The prestigious International Journal of Radiation Oncology-Biology-Physics, or Red Journal, has devoted an entire issue to the subject of particle therapy—bringing protons into the limelight of medical practice. It is the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.
Much of the nearly 600-page issue, nearly double the normal size, includes 75 articles ranging from clinical outcomes to commentary on a modality increasingly gaining recognition as a preferred option for treatment of tumors.