More than 10,000 prostate patients treated with protons at LLUMC Proton Treatment Center
The James M. Slater, MD Proton Treatment and Research Center has treated more than 10,000 prostate patients with proton therapy since it opened in 1990. No other proton treatment center in the world has such a contribution to health. And as proton research continues, the proton treatment will continue to improve the quality of life in men with prostate cancer.
About prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a condition which abnormal cells grow and form a malignancy on the prostate. Untreated prostate cancer can metastasize to other parts of the body, including the bones, lymph nodes and, in some cases, the rectum, bladder, and lower ureters.
The prostate gland, found only in men, is located near a man's urethra (just below the bladder and in front of the rectum) and serves many functions including producing seminal fluid (used to nourish and transport sperm), regulating and controlling urine flow by contracting and releasing muscle fibers and depends on adequate levels of testosterone to function properly.
While the prostate starts developing prior to birth, it begins to grow more rapidly during puberty in the presence of male hormones (most notably testosterone). Although the size of the prostate can vary by age, in young men it is usually about the size of a walnut. As men grow older, the size of their prostate can increase as well.
Numerous studies, including ones by the International Journal of Radiation Oncology and the International Society of Urology, biochemical failure rates (the return of a previously treated cancer) are the same for proton therapy as they are for conventional prostate cancer treatments such as brachytherapy and radical prostatectomy. This means that patients get the benefits of proton therapy without compromising their chance for a cure.
Advantages of proton therapy for prostate cancer
Proton therapy is a relatively newer cancer treatment, but it has already shown remarkable promise and advantages over conventional therapy – especially in the treatment of prostate cancer. Proton radiation therapy’s accuracy and the control it gives physicians in terms of adapting treatment make it a non-invasive and low-risk option for prostate cancer treatment.
What is proton therapy for prostate cancer?
Proton therapy for prostate cancer is a treatment option that involves using a focused ray of proton particles to destroy cancerous tissues. The treatment is capable of delivering precise, high doses of radiation to accurately target cancer cells without causing damage to healthy tissue surrounding the prostate.
Proton therapy improves the quality of life for prostate cancer patients and survivors by offering a number of compelling benefits:
- It is non-invasive and therefore painless
- It is more accurate than other kinds of radiation
- Full or higher doses of radiation can be used for treatment without damaging healthy tissues and organs
- Treatment is provided in an outpatient setting
- Proton radiation therapy does not require recovery time
- The treatment has little to no impact on a patient’s energy level
- Proton therapy poses minimal risk of impotency
- The treatment has lower risk of side effects compared with conventional treatment.