The number of proton beam therapy (PBT) centers continues to grow despite their high construction and operational costs, as well as the insurance barriers for patients to access this treatment.
If cost was not a factor, most oncologists, scientists, insurers and patients would consider this an important standard treatment option that has the potential to improve cancer outcomes and reduce toxicity and late effects of radiation therapy compared with the more widely used photon radiation therapy.
The physics of protons makes them superior to the more widely available photon radiation therapy. This is due to a particle physics phenomenon called the Bragg peak, where the radiation dose is not delivered beyond the tumor (unlike photon beam radiation therapy).
If you are interested in learning more about proton therapy and whether this technology might be of benefit for you, watch my video, below.
I received my training at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston – one of the oldest programs with proton therapy in the United States. I continue to refer patients to proton centers when this treatment modality can improve patients’ outcomes.