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The Advantages Of Proton Therapy In Cancer Treatment. Would I Benefit From It?
The Advantages Of Proton Therapy In Cancer Treatment. Would I Benefit From It?

Cancer is a complex and challenging disease, and it’s essential for patients to explore the most effective treatment options available. One promising approach that has captured attention in the field of cancer treatment is proton therapy, a specialised form of radiation therapy. Proton therapy offers unique advantages and holds great promise for enhancing treatment outcomes. Proton beam therapy is currently available in Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Goh Cheng Liang Proton Therapy Centre and Singapore Institute of Advanced Medicine Holdings (SAM.) . In this blog, we will delve into the benefits of proton therapy, providing you with valuable insights to help you make informed decisions about your cancer treatment journey.

Understanding Proton Therapy

Proton therapy is a cutting-edge form of radiation therapy that utilises protons instead of traditional x-rays. It delivers radiation painlessly to treat certain types of cancer.

Proton therapy has gained significant recognition since its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is currently used worldwide.

Proton therapy, harnessing the power of positively charged particles called protons, offers a breakthrough in cancer treatment. By utilising high-energy protons, doctors can effectively destroy cancer cells with precision. Proton therapy can be employed as a standalone treatment or in combination with x-ray radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy, providing a comprehensive approach to fighting cancer. Powered by synchrotron or cyclotron machines, these protons are accelerated to high speeds, enabling them to reach the desired depth within the body. Once there, they deliver a targeted radiation dose directly to the tumour, minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissues. Unlike conventional radiation therapy, where x-rays continue emitting radiation outside the tumour, proton therapy significantly reduces radiation exposure to healthy tissues, resulting in fewer side effects and a higher quality of life for patients undergoing treatment.

Why Is Proton Therapy Not Widely Available?

proton therapy centres require significant investment and infrastructure. The costs associated with establishing proton beam facilities are substantial, with investments reaching millions of dollars. These facilities feature advanced particle accelerators and gantries to deliver precise proton beams to tumours. With the availability of proton therapy in Singapore in 2023, patients with cancers located in sensitive areas, such as the brain, head/neck, prostate will no longer need to seek treatment abroad in countries like Taiwan or South Korea, as local oncologists can provide this advanced therapy.

Which Cancers Are Treated With Proton Therapy?

Proton beams are a newer form of particle beam radiation used to treat cancer. It allows maximum destructive energy at the tumour site while minimising the damage to healthy tissues along their path. These have particular clinical use in paediatric tumours and in adults tumours that have not spread and located near critical structures such as spinal cord and skull base tumours, where maximal normal tissue sparing is crucial.

Proton therapy is also used in treating various cancers, including those of the eyes, head and neck, lung, liver, prostate, as well as certain sarcomas and noncancerous brain tumours. Cancer specialists will review individual cases and advise if proton therapy is suitable.

Benefits Of Proton Therapy

Compared to traditional x-ray radiation therapy, proton therapy offers a lower risk of radiation damage to healthy tissues surrounding the tumour. Its targeted nature allows for higher radiation doses to be delivered to the tumour, increasing the likelihood of destroying all cancer cells while minimising harm to surrounding organs.

Proton therapy has shown potential for fewer and milder side effects during and after treatment. Common side effects such as low blood counts, fatigue, and nausea are often less severe compared to traditional radiation therapy. This can significantly improve the overall quality of life for patients undergoing treatment.

OncoCare’s Proton Therapy Cancer Treatments

At OncoCare, we understand the importance of providing the most advanced and effective treatment options to our patients. We work with radiation therapy specialists to offer proton therapy for various types of cancer, including prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, and more. Our dedicated team of cancer specialists in Singapore is committed to providing personalised care and guiding you through your treatment journey.

Proton therapy represents a promising advancement in cancer treatment, offering targeted precision and reduced side effects. To determine if proton therapy is suitable for you, we encourage you to consult with our experienced cancer doctors at OncoCare. Together, we can explore the best treatment options tailored to your specific needs, ensuring the highest quality care throughout your cancer treatment.

“Expert knowledge means better care for cancer”

Written by:

Dr Tan Chee Seng

MBBS (Singapore)

MRCP (United Kingdom)