Proton Therapy Helps Improve Cancer Treatment Outcomes – Experts

Experts have said that using proton therapy for cancer treatment has many benefits to improve treatment outcomes and quality of disease survival.

The experts, who are from the Apollo Proton Cancer Center (APCC), Chennai, India, said so during an interactive media session on proton beam therapy in Abuja.

Proton therapy is radiation therapy that uses tiny particles called protons as excellent cancer cell killers.

The protons deliver their energy but do not damage healthy tissue compared to phototherapy.

According to medical experts, a higher dose of radiation can be targeted at the tumor without affecting many normal healthy cells.

They say it can be effective in treating tumors of the brain, head and neck, central nervous system, lungs, prostate, and gastrointestinal system.

Proton therapy is often the preferred option for treating solid tumors in children because protons can be precisely controlled so there is less radiation to normal tissue; helps prevent serious complications and reduce the risk of secondary tumors.

Experts have stated that proton therapy has multiple benefits that target tumors and cancer cells with precision and minimal output dose, thereby reducing overall toxicity.

They say it also reduces the likelihood and/or severity of short- and long-term side effects on surrounding healthy tissues and organs. Moreover, it is also favorable in the treatment of recurrent tumors, even in patients who have already been irradiated.

Dr Sapna Nangia, Senior Consultant, Radiation Oncology Program for Head, Neck, Breast and Gynecological Cancers at Apollo Proton Cancer Center, Chennai, India, said proton therapy has become an excellent modality treatment for a number of cancers.

She said one of the most common sites treated at the Apollo Proton Cancer Center is head and neck cancer.

Patients undergoing proton therapy experience significantly less discomfort during and after treatment and are less likely to require hospitalization, tube feeding or treatment interruption.

“In patients with tumors involving the base of the skull, protons improve the safety of critical organs like the visual pathway and the brainstem.

“At Apollo Proton Cancer Center, we have the latest PBS technology that allows us to deliver highly targeted treatments to each tumor, and each tumor is treated with protons, point by point and layer by layer.

“It has been shown to be effective in curing or controlling many cancers when used appropriately,” she said.

Mohammed Kabir, son of Ms Safiya who was treated at the Apollo Proton Cancer Center in Chennai, said his mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in Dubai in October 2019 and underwent surgery in the country.

He said: “After having had a few sessions of chemotherapy, she returned to Nigeria. For a follow-up we wanted to take her to Turkey, but all of our research showed that Apollo Proton Cancer Center was a better option given the expertise, knowledge and state-of-the-art technology it is equipped with.

“We couldn’t have made a better decision as we got the best service, treatment and care at APCC.”

Amit Chaturvedi, Deputy Managing Director, International Marketing, of the Cancer Center said that every year Nigeria has 115,950 new cases of cancer, with many more undiagnosed and unrecorded.

Chaturvedi said every month Apollo receives more than 100 patients in India, adding, “But our intention is not just to bring patients from Nigeria to India or any other country to India.

“We believe in building capacity in the health care field of the patient’s home country. We are in talks with the National Hospital to conduct collaborative clinical programs. We are also focusing on telemedicine from Nigeria,” he said.

He said the cost of proton therapy is $65,000. It’s the overall cost from assessment to treatment and everything.

He said the Apollo Proton Cancer Center (APCC) is the first and only proton therapy center in South Asia and the Middle East and the first JCI accredited cancer hospital in India.

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