Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Despite proton therapy for prostate cancer is a new treatment option, it has become so popular because it has many advantages when compared to other standard treatments of prostate cancer.
Usually, proton therapy for treatment of prostate cancer introduces minimal complications, the paramount results and the quickest time of recovery.
This is a sort of radiation therapy used to treat prostate cancer, but different to other forms of radiotherapy. In fact, these use x-rays photons to kill cancerous cells, meanwhile proton therapy utilizes focused rays of special particles known as protons.
Due to special characteristics of proton particles, your doctor can better aim these proton beams towards the tumor in your prostate, thus minimal damage of the surrounding healthy tissues will occur.
Of course, this allows your doctor to use higher dosage of radiation with proton therapy than used with X-rays. Also, most doctors prefer proton therapy over chemotherapy, which is known to kill the healthy cells in your body.
The benefits you'll get from this therapy are:
1.Proton therapy introduces more precise and higher doses of radiation than other radiotherapies, thus saving the damage of surrounding intact tissues.
2.Proton therapy involves non-invasive procedures for treatment of prostate cancer, and it causes no pain at all.
3.It requires no recovery time and possesses minimal or no side effects.
4.You will not need to be hospitalized and your energy levels will be normal. Thus, it will improve your quality of live
5.Your risks of impotency are minimal. In fact, you can have a normal sexual life while undergoing proton therapy.
During the radiation seances, you will wear a device to help you to stay still while receiving the treatment. Scanning with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) will be used to locate the exact area of your prostate to be targeted with proton rays.
By using a computer, the radiation oncologist will map out your tumor and decide the angles where proton rays can enter your prostate. You will be placed in a gantry, which is a donut- shaped device that rotates around your body to direct the proton beams towards your tumor.
The protons are produced and accelerated by another machine called a synchrotron or cyclotron, and then magnets direct protons to cancerous tissues. Usually, proton therapy requires outpatient setting, and it only takes 1-2 minutes per day over a period of six to seven weeks.
The side effects of are minimal in comparison with standard X-ray radiation, as proton therapy causes less destruction of the surrounding healthy tissues; consequently, these side effects might include redness of skin in the area of radiation and losing hair temporarily.
The technician will leave the room while you are having proton therapy. The treatment should only take 1 to 2 minutes. You shouldn't feel any discomfort. After the treatment is over, the technician will return to the room and help you remove the device that held you still.