Proton Therapy: Changing the Way You Treat Cancer
Approximately 50% of cancers require some form of radiation therapy. A proton therapy unit can significantly impact the treatment of up to 10% of that number, for a total of up to 400 patients a year. In our never-ending quest to help eradicate cancer, HHS Healthcare has added this advanced treatment to our offerings.
As part of our total packaged solution from concept to treating your first patient, we can provide a proton therapy system as a standalone solution, as part of a solution that includes additional forms of radiation treatment, or as a seamless addition to your existing healthcare facility or practice. The approximately 14,000 square foot proton suite includes a reception area, changing rooms, and additional areas that house the equipment.
Our comprehensive and proven services take the worry and guesswork out of a cutting-edge project of this magnitude. This can include helping you through the extensive regulation process that varies by state and country. In the U.S., this includes dealing with the various Departments of Health and filing the Certificate of Need paperwork.
Proton Therapy Over Traditional Treatments:
Protons can be manipulated to release energy precisely where it is needed. This targeted approach at any depth or location results in minimal radiation passing through healthy tissue in front of the cancer. Upon exit, the radiation dose is nearly zero, minimalizing radiation to those healthy cells.
Other radiation methods can be forced to limit the amount of treatment a patient can receive. Due to the specificity of the proton delivery and the lower damage to surrounding healthy tissue, additional treatment sessions can be administered in the advent of new or recurring tumors.
The treatment session itself is painless. Less radiation affecting the surrounding healthy tissue can mean fewer side effects immediately following treatment, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
By utilizing precisely targeted protons, there is a lower chance of metastasis, less likelihood of recurrence, and the limited dose exposure to collateral tissue decreases the risk for other cancers.
The Proton Therapy Advantage
Minimizing the exposure of healthy tissues has always been an important aspect of radiation therapy. This is where proton therapy (also known as proton beam therapy) offers a distinctive cutting-edge advantage over other forms of radiation.
The use of protons to treat cancer is not a new concept. In 1946 physicist Robert Wilson first proposed the idea to use them to deliver an increased dose of radiation specifically to a tumor while simultaneously limiting radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue. His conclusion was correct but impossible at that time as neither the imaging capabilities or precise control of protons was available.
The advent of advances in CT, MRI, and PET imaging paved the way for tumors to be precisely defined by location, size, and shape. Proton therapy takes advantage of this. Targeted cancer-destroying protons combined with non-invasive technology provides the type of advanced care that patients of all ages seek. The aspect of a soothing room environment, a pain-free experience during treatment, minimal damage to surrounding non-cancerous tissue, and reduced side effects are a clear choice when compared to other forms of radiation treatment. These benefits are especially pronounced when treating children.
We are strongly committed to the use of proton therapy to treat cancer and other diseases. To provide a better visual understanding of this treatment, the following video by IBA RadioPharma Solutions, one of our strategic equipment partners, highlights the Proteus® ONE proton therapy experience.
An exciting aspect to the radiation oncologist is the ability to precisely target and destroy cancer cells at any depth in the body using a three-dimensional pattern from each beam used. Because protons are positively-charged electrons that can be precisely controlled to release their energy within a scope that can widened or narrowed, the tumor can be mapped during the procedure while simultaneously reducing the dose to the surrounding healthy tissues.
Unlike photons, protons hold onto most of their energy until they reach the nucleus of the cancer cell, minimalizing the radiation healthy cells receive as the beam passes through to the tumor. This transference to the cell’s electrons through ionization damages its DNA, permanently destroying their ability to further divide and survive. Once it passes through the targeted area, the radiation dose drops to almost zero.
This provides the flexibility to give higher doses to the patient during the procedure to help eradicate the cancer without the usual extensive collateral damage of healthy tissue. It also allows for treating tumors next to critical organs, which is much more difficult using other protocols.
Proven Treatment of Various Cancers and Diseases
Proton therapy has proven results treating gastrointestinal cancer, lung tumors, melanoma of the eye, pediatric cancer, prostate cancer, tumors near the spine, base-of-skull, brain, head, and neck.
In addition to cancer, proton therapy has also been effectively used to treat arteriovenous malformations, epilepsy, macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders, and severe rheumatologic conditions. Continued research in this field will undoubtedly provide additional conditions proton beam therapy will effectively treat alone or as part of a treatment strategy.