The Advantages of Using Protons to Help Treat Pediatric Cancer

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Treating cancer with the help of proton therapy begins when the particles are injected into the patient’s body in the form of a beam. This electric field contains hydrogen atoms which will then separate into electrons and protons. The latter unit will then travel through a tube of vacuum in a pre-accelerator to specifically attack tumor cells.

The beauty of using this form of therapy for treating cancer in children and for other cancer patients of different age groups is it significantly reduces collateral damage of radiation to nearby healthy organs and tissue, which would otherwise be spelled differently for cancer treatments involving X-ray beams. Devishobha of HuffPost dives deeper into the subject at hand by interviewing Dr. Ramesh Rengan, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) Proton Therapy Center medical director in Seattle Washington. Here are some excerpts from what transpired during the dialogue.

proton therapy

What are the Benefits of This Therapy Over Other Forms of Cancer Treatments?

Protons, due to their mass, carry radiation but won’t pass through the patient’s body as compared to using X-ray beams.  Hence, these particles can be delivered to the area of the body with the tumor without affecting other organs or healthy tissue, thus minimizing collateral radiation exposure. Because of this trait, this particular cancer therapy can is even useful for letting patients go about with their normal lives after the session is over. It also lessens the risk of short and long-term side effects appearing from within the patient’s system.

Is It Improving?

Lowered costs, advanced technologies, and accessible clinics now pave the way for this form of cancer therapy to now treat a broader range of cancer cells and tumors. Furthermore, since it has the possibility of being used as a combination of approaches in treating cancer cells, then it is without a doubt that this cancer treatment is indeed improving. It’s also essential to understand that protons were originally postulated in treating cancer according to a paper that was published back in 1946, according to Dr. Rengan in the interview. Protons aren’t new as a modality, but its uses have since grown to aid in the field of medicine in several ways.

Is This the Best Choice for Treating Cancer?

When comparing the use of protons and x-ray beams for treating cancer cells, then both forms are still effective in killing tumors. However, protons are still only a single tool in the increasing arsenal of option in combating cancer. It might be the best treatment for some patients, but it’s not the best for everyone.

Dr. Rengan believes that the next big revolution in cancer treatment comes with the human race’s increasing ability to offer effective medical procedures to eliminate tumors with absolute accuracy.