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What Are The Disadvantages Of Proton Beam Therapy? 

Proton therapy is something that is very serious, therefore you can’t ignore the disadvantages of proton beam therapy. Proton beam therapy is also called simply proton therapy, in which a laser beam is used to kill cancer cells. It is a type of radiation therapy and it uses protons rather than X-rays to treat cancer.

You might have studied in chemistry that a proton is a positively charged particle, this same proton is used here in this procedure. At high energy levels, proteins can destroy cancer cells. Doctors use a machine called a synchrotron or cyclotron for this therapy. The high speed of the proton creates high energy and this energy makes the protons travel to the desired depth in the body to kill the cancer cells. Let’s see some disadvantages of proton beam therapy.   

What Are The Disadvantages Of Proton Beam Therapy? 

Here is a list of some adverse disadvantages of proton beam therapy, you must know before going for it. Let’s understand all these disadvantages in detail. 

  1. Cost 
  2. Unique Challenges 
  3. Limited Facilities 
  4. Probably Miss Cancer Outside The Radiation Field 
  5. Hair Loss 
  6. Fatigue 
  7. It Can Not Treat All Kinds Of Cancers 
  8. Not Available At All Medical Centres 

Disadvantages Of Proton Beam Therapy 

Before going for proton therapy you need to do more research to know if proton therapy is as good as, or better than, standard radiotherapy or other treatment. Relax! Here we have done it for you, just scroll down and read all the disadvantages of proton beam therapy.

  1. Cost 

Cost is one of the major concerns in proton beam therapy and hence everyone can not afford it. For instance, the mayo clinic proton therapy cost is around $5,904. Currently, it is roughly twice as expensive as conventional radiation therapy due to overhead costs. It is a major difference between proton therapy vs radiation therapy.

  1. Unique Challenges 

Unique challenges with proton beam therapy include motion management and change in anatomy that takes place before and during treatment. How long does it take to recover from proton therapy? You need 2 to 8 weeks to recover after having proton therapy.

  1. Probably Miss Cancer Outside The Radiation Field 

It is not always true that proton beam therapy will wipe out cancer cells completely, but sometimes they remain active if they miss out on radiation. Due to the complicated area of radiation delivery, proton therapy may not reach some small areas of cancer cells and metastases which lie near, but outside of the radiation field.

  1. Hair Loss 

One of the long-term side effects of proton therapy is hair loss, and it happens with every patient. Not all of your hair will lose but only within the region in which proton beam therapy is given. You might know that hair loss is a common side effect of proton beam therapy. For instance, a loss of hair on the chest may occur when proton therapy is used for lung cancer, and hair loss on the head may occur with proton therapy for brain cancer. But, don’t worry your hair will grow again.

  1. Fatigue 

Fatigue is one of the most common disadvantages while having proton therapy. These disadvantages are also common in conventional radiation therapy.

  1. It Can Not Treat All Kinds Of Cancers 

One of the wost limitations of proton beam therapy is, it is only suitable for certain types of cancer. Proton therapy treats cancers including, central nervous system concerts, eye cancer, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, spinal and pelvic cancer, and noncancerous brain tumors. And sometimes it is used to treat cancers including breast cancer and cancer in children.

  1. Not Available At All Medical Centres

Since it is one of the most expensive treatments for cancer patients, it is not available in all types of hospitals. Only a handful or so of proton beam therapy centers are available in a developed country like the United States, then you think about developing and undeveloped countries’ situation.

Advantages Of Proton Beam Therapy 

The advantages of proton beam therapy are, 

  • It is easier to control 
  • Well tolerated 
  • Inoperable tumors 
  • Precise delivery with less long-term damage 
  • This may allow a higher radiation dose 
  • Less damage to surrounding tissues 
  • Fewer long-term risks 
  • Offer relief from various cancers 

Everything has its disadvantages on Disadvantagess you will get to know more.

FAQ

What Is The Success Rate Of Proton Therapy?

After 3 years, 46% of patients in the proton therapy group and 49% of those in the traditional radiation therapy group were cancer free. Fifty-six percent of people who received proton therapy and 58% of those who received traditional radiation were still alive after 3 years.

How Long Do The Side Effects Of Proton Radiation Last?

Side effects from proton therapy may continue or even increase for two to three weeks after treatment for head and neck cancer patients. Be sure to continue the regimen your care team recommends for caring for your mouth, throat, skin, and maintaining proper nutrition.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Proton Therapy?

Proton therapy is a recommended treatment for many patients, including: Patients whose tumors are near critical organs or structures, such as brain, heart, lungs, GI tract, spine and head and neck. Patients who also need chemotherapy. Patients whose cancers have recurred.

How Many Times Can You Have Proton Therapy?

You typically undergo proton therapy five days a week for several weeks. However, in some situations, you may undergo only one or a few treatments, depending on your condition. The actual proton therapy treatment may take only a few minutes but expect to spend 30 to 45 minutes preparing before each treatment session.

Conclusion 

In this article, you have learned about the advantages and disadvantages of proton beam therapy in detail. After reading about its disadvantages, if you don’t want to go with it, then you have various options. You can think about stereotactic body radiotherapy or conventional radiation therapy. Do you know? No doubt that proton therapy is delivered to a precise area, but still damage to normal cells near the tumor may occur. Its almost side effects are similar to the side effects due to conventional radiation therapy. So, ignore the disadvantages for a moment and say thank you to the researchers for inventing such quick and precise therapy. There were disadvantages of proton beam therapy.  

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