Three questions to ask your breast surgeon or oncologist before seeing the radiation oncologist.
Have you heard about proton radiation for breast cancer treatment?
If yes, what is your view on this type of treatment for me?
Why would I be a good candidate or not for this treatment? Ask for specifics.
Questions to ask the radiation oncologist.
What are the advantages of proton radiation versus photon radiation?
Does proton treatment cost more than photon radiation treatment?
Where do you recommend I go for treatment and why? (if they don’t offer proton at your medical facility)
Will insurance cover proton radiation?
How many patients have you treated for proton radiation?
Can I speak to another patient that’s had proton vs photon?
Have you been successful in peer to peer reviews when insurance requests this?
Is there a trial that I can enter for proton radiation that might help
my chance of getting this approved?
What is proton radiation therapy?
As described by Loma Linda University, CA.
Proton radiation treatment, or proton beam therapy, is the most precise and advanced form of radiation therapy available today. It is a painless, non-invasive treatment that allows patients to maintain their quality of life and quickly resume normal activities. This is because proton therapy allows physicians to deliver full or higher treatment dosages that destroy the main tumor site without causing harm to surrounding healthy tissue or organs.
As described by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY.
While proton therapy kills cancer cells through a process similar to that used in conventional x-ray radiation (photon radiation) — by damaging their DNA. However, because of the unique physical properties of protons, doctors can are able to deliver radiation to a specific depth in the body. With proton therapy, all energy has been released by the time it reaches the tumor site, so there is no dose beyond that point. This can help to reduce side effects. Proton therapy typically involves the same number of treatments and the same session times as conventional radiation therapy.
What kind of cancer does proton therapy treat?
Proton Therapy treats many cancers such as:
Brain: “including craniopharyngiomas, low-grade, high-grade and recurrent gliomas, meningiomas and pituitary adenomas” at MPTC
Tumors of the Base of the Skull
Gastrointestinal tract tumors, including esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, rectal and anal canal tumors.
Head and neck tumors, including throat cancer, thyroid cancer and oral cancers, among others
Lung tumors, including non-small cell and small cell cancers, malignant mesothelioma and thymomas
Lymphomas, including Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's disease