Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Most patients with prostatic cancer are eligible for radiation therapy that kills cancerous cells without harming healthy cells. Most patients experience minimal side effects and a quick treatment session. This sounds too good to be true. Could you not believe it?

Proton Therapy is an exact form of Radiation therapy and one of the most advanced cancer treatments. It has been used for prostate cancer treatment for many years. It is a highly-targeted treatment that reduces radiation exposure in the rectum, bladder, and other gastrointestinal tissues.

The use of proton therapy reduces the amount of radiation that non-cancerous tissue is exposed to compared to any other form of radiation, said Arun Goel, MD, a radiation oncologist with Penn Medicine.

Since 2010, the Roberts Proton Treatment Center of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center has treated thousands of patients with proton therapy. This includes those with prostate cancer.

What is proton therapy for prostate cancer?

Proton therapy is an external beam of therapeutic radiation. A large machine known as a cyclotron produces a beam of proton-charged particles aimed directly at the prostate tumor. The tumor cells are destroyed as the beam “deposits its” energy.

Dr. Goel said, “We can manipulate the energy of the beam and its direction to create a radiation dose spread tailored to the target we are treating.” This precision sets proton treatment apart from other techniques of radiation that could be used to target prostate tumor cells.

Proton radiation and prostate cancer: Side effects and benefits

Studies have shown that proton therapy can treat and manage prostate cancer. Proton therapy, like all prostate treatments, depends on several factors. These include the cancer stage and whether it is combined with other medicines. Dr. Goel said that experts at the Center pay attention to each patient’s situation details to understand what the patient should expect clearly.

Proton therapy is a treatment for prostate cancer that has many benefits. The treatments last between five and ten minutes, are non-painful, and usually last 5 to 10 minutes. Patients may undergo 28 to 44 treatment sessions depending on their specific case. Most people experience no side effects.

Dr. Goel said that only 15 to 20% of patients would experience a mild adverse reaction, which may require a prescription or over-the-counter medication.

The side effects of proton therapy for prostate cancer will vary according to the patient. These side effects can include increased urination or urgency, discomfort, or side effects affecting the bowel, such as diarrhea, frequency, or speed. These side effects usually subside one to two months after treatment.

Do I qualify for proton therapy in prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is a disease with varying degrees of severity. Proton therapy can treat patients irrespective of their position on this spectrum. This includes cases of cancer spreading beyond the prostate into the lymph nodes. The treatment of prostate cancer with proton therapy can be successful even if a patient has had a prostatectomy. This is the partial or complete removal of the prostate.

Why Choose the Roberts Proton Therapy Center

Penn Medicine has one of the planet’s most advanced and largest proton therapy centers: The Roberts Proton Therapy Center. It is part of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. The Roberts Proton Therapy Center is part of the Abramson Cancer Center, one of only a few proton centers fully integrated into a comprehensive cancer center.

The Roberts Proton Therapy Center, the largest in the world to integrate proton beam therapy and conventional radiation therapy, is located at the Roberts Proton Therapy Center. Patients with prostate cancer are treated by a team that specializes in managing and treating radiation therapy patients for prostate cancer. “There is a lot of experience and specialized treatment,” said Dr. Goel

Future of proton therapy in prostate cancer

Roberts Proton Therapy Center continues to develop the use of proton treatment in prostate cancer. Most patients can be effectively treated with only 28 sessions rather than 44. The Center is also researching the effectiveness of combining proton treatment with other forms of radiation therapy.