The newest type of radiation therapy is proton beam radiation therapy, often shortened to proton radiation. It’s also growing in popularity for use treating a number of cancers.
A study in JAMA Oncology explored the growing use of this new type of radiation. Nearly 6 million cases from the National Cancer Database were included in the study. The overall use of proton radiation tripled from 2004-2018, and there are no signs of slowing down. Lung cancer and mesothelioma are two cancers that can be treated with proton radiation.
Proton Radiation for Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer
Proton radiation is an evolution of radiation therapy for cancer. Precise proton beams limit damage to healthy tissue while allowing radiation oncologists to use higher dosages.
Radiation is an option for both mesothelioma and lung cancer. Cancer cells can hide in the thin tissue lining near the lungs – called the pleura – or in the space between the lungs, called the mediastinum. Radiation can target these small chunks of cells before or after surgery.
Radiation beams can also burn cancer cells on diseased lung tissue. Proton beams are precise targeting of the diseased tissue and cause minimal damage to healthy lung tissue, which preserves part of the lung.
Proton radiation is safer and more effective for patients than other types of radiation. It also requires less time, fewer cycles and fewer therapy sessions each week.
For mesothelioma and lung cancer, proton radiation reduces the chances of severe pneumonitis (lung tissue inflammation).
More Patients Using Proton Radiation
The researchers reported in JAMA Oncology that 1.2% of patients used proton radiation in 2018. Fourteen years earlier, the percentage was 0.4%.
Use in lung cancer increased significantly. Only 0.1% of patients received proton radiation in 2004. In 2018, the percentage was 0.7%.
Radiation therapy is best when combined with surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Some cancer centers use three therapies together, which is called multimodal therapy.
Some cancer centers have proton radiation therapy programs or collaborate with proton radiation centers. Mesothelioma Guide’s medical team can assist you in finding a proton radiation center near where you live – or the closest one out of state.
Email registered nurse Karen Ritter at email@example.com for her expertise in finding a cancer center or proton center. She can also give you more information about how proton radiation works for whichever cancer you have.
Sources & Author
- Assessment of Proton Beam Therapy Use Among Patients With Newly Diagnosed Cancer in the US, 2004-2018. JAMA Network. Retrieved from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2791568. Accessed: 05/06/2022.
Sources & Author