Sunday, June 21, 2015

Proton therapy, what is? | Diseases and conditions.


Proton therapy is a technique to treat cancer, expensive and little accessible, which is only used in very specific cases. An expert in radiation oncology explains what and when is indicated.
The case of the British child Ashja'i King, that parents threw out of the hospital without medical consent because they wanted his son to receive proton therapy, a treatment different from that recommended by the specialists of the Center where it was entered, been present this type of radiation therapy, which is also used in the treatment of cancer, but only in very specific cases , and that is currently only available in a few countries and at a very high price, which can reach between 100,000 and 200,000 euros, depending on the needs of the patient and the chosen Center (in the United States is more expensive than in Europe).
But, in what this therapy and what makes it so special? Dr. Natalia Carballo, Chief of radiation oncology from MD Anderson Cancer Center Madridservice, explains that "the treatment of protons is a type of radiotherapy in which the particle which is used to treat the patient is the proton - a particle that is located in the nucleus of the atom--instead of the usual conventional therapy are photons. It is, adds, of the "same treatment, but with different kind of particle".
Proton Therapy allows to manage very high doses of radiation with almost non-existent toxicity
This expert points out that "the advantages of the proton from the photon are based on a physical property of this particle which is called Bragg peak", which makes proton therapy less toxic in comparison with photon radiation. As a result, may be "given very high doses of radiation with almost non-existent toxicity".
In the case of the small Ashja'i, recently removed that a - a type of brain tumor - medulloblastoma, parents have explained that the reason why wish for his son proton therapy is that the conventional is too aggressive for a five-year-old boy.

Proton therapy, in which cases is indicated?

Asked if everyone needs treatment of protons to be cured, the DRA. Carballo answers with a resounding "no". According to this specialist in radiation oncology this therapy is indicated in complicated cases, tumors that are in a bad location, removal which can make it very difficult, or those that appear after having been treated (relapsed).
In fact, the oncologist says that in the 12 years that has been working at MD Anderson Spain, have been less than ten patients that have had to be referred to other centres to be treated with proton therapy. "A unit of Proton - explains the doctor - slope around 200 million euros, and bearing in mind that very few patients will need this treatment,"the most intelligent and rational is having only units of Proton countries or centers that can afford it, and deriving any patient that needs it to these centres".
Regarding the effectiveness of proton therapy, expert says that "it is shown", but warns that in cancer "there is no therapeutic procedure that guarantees you the cure", and although proton therapy is an optimal treatment and its results are validated, can happen, as with any other therapy, the patient finally dies because you develop metastasis. Then is it a curative treatment? "In some cases yes, and in others not, like any other", says the expert, who added that, should also accompany chemotherapy, as is the case with conventional radiotherapy.
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