Protons are positively charged particles. They are used to treat malignant and benign tumors. Unlike other methods in the process of exposure, healthy cells are not damaged. The method is used in the leading centers of Europe and Russia.
The effect occurs by ionizing radiation, particles accelerated in the accelerator. This leads to the death of cancer cells.
Since the latter are prone to rapid growth, the radiation on them has the most harmful effect, than on healthy tissues. Particles damage the DNA of the cells.
Protons have a rather large mass. Therefore, doctors talk about a small scattering of tissues.
This type of treatment is prescribed for children, because side effects are observed in half as compared to other methods of treatment. Proton therapy does not affect the growth and development of the child.
The method is used to treat intracranial tumors and CNS lesions. A positive effect is observed in the treatment of chordoma, carcinoma of the flat epithelium, soft tissue sarcoma and bones. Improvement in the fight against tumors of the brain and its membranes.
Proven effectiveness in the fight against cancer:
- of the breast,
- of the urinary tract,
- of the cervix,
- of the esophagus,
- of the pancreas.
Before the procedure, an MRI, X-ray, topographic study is performed, which allows you to enter the actual information into the computer program. A device is being manufactured for forming the beam, taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient.
Before starting therapy, the doctor determines the point at which radiation will be directed, and fixing devices are manufactured. They are needed to ensure the same position of the body at each treatment session. Their type depends on the location of the tumor.
Tomography is then used to obtain a three-dimensional image of the formation, to determine the exact boundaries. Aperture devices, tissue-compensating filters are prepared before the manipulations themselves. They are developed with the participation of a medical physicist.
Therapy is performed on an outpatient basis. It does not cause pain and discomfort. Usually, the course of treatment is 5-7 weeks, but sometimes several sessions are enough.
Side effects of
As with other methods, side effects sometimes occur. Their intensity depends on the dose of radiation, simultaneous chemotherapy.
Most often observed:
- hair loss,
- skin reactions in the area of proton beam entry,
The latter is observed in the event that large-scale formations were exposed.
Early side effects occur during or immediately after treatment. They pass for several weeks. These include the occurrence of ulcers on the mucous membranes, headaches, diarrhea, loss of appetite.
The effectiveness of proton therapy
According to studies, the use of therapy increases the survival rate of patients with cancer to 98%.
With changes in the brain, this indicator increases from 35 to 75%.Some sources say that the effectiveness of some forms of cancer in the absence of metastasis reaches almost 100%.
The procedure is much easier to transfer in comparison with other methods of exposure, does not require hospitalization.
In Germany, this method of radiation therapy began to be used more than 15 years ago. At the Heidelberg Center, irradiation was carried out by both protons and heavy ions. The latter are used even for the treatment of resistant cancers.
Protons are also used effectively for scanning tumors. This allows you to see a tumor in 10,000 intersecting points in one session.
Proton-beam therapy in Russia
Several centers of proton-beam therapy operate in our country. Access to this method of treatment remains at a low level due to expensive equipment, as well as inadequate practice of our specialists.
A maximum of 1000 people can be irradiated per year in each installation. At the same time they are very expensive to maintain, which increases the cost of treatment.
In Russia, proton therapy centers operate only on the basis of commercial clinics. You can undergo the treatment in:
- Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics( Moscow),
- Scientific Center for Radiology and Surgical Technologies( St. Petersburg),
- Joint Institute for Nuclear Research( Dubna),
- Center for Proton Therapy( St. Petersburg).
The queue for therapy is very large, since the number of patients who need this method of therapy is increasing every year.
Cost in Moscow and St. Petersburg
The price of proton therapy is several tens of thousands of dollars. This is due to the high cost of the devices. The price often depends on the degree of organ damage, the presence of concomitant ailments and relapses.
Video on Proton Therapy in Cancer Treatment: