Proton Therapy

Topics: Cancer, Radiation therapy, Prostate cancer Pages: 4 (1616 words) Published: December 5, 2011
Prostate cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer in middle-to-older aged men, and in 2008 it was the second highest cause of death in males. Although older gentlemen are more prone to being diagnosed, of the roughly 186,000 diagnoses each year (The Promise), many young men faced with the disease choose powerful treatments which often carry with them several unintended consequences. These treatment options, such as surgery or chemotherapy can cause infertility and the inability to perform sexually (Prostate Gland). Over 60% of men opt for either surgery (30%) or chemotherapy (32%). These two options, while effective, cause many severe side effects and can damage other areas of the body that are perfectly healthy (Patterns). While debilitating to men of all ages, there are several treatment options that have proven successful for prostate cancer, one of which has been deemed a medical breakthrough; it is called proton therapy. The technology was first tested in the 1950’s and was proved to be the best way to treat certain types of tumors and cancers located near sensitive areas of the body including the eye, base of the skull, and spinal cord (The Promise). A machine uses nuclear technology and magnets to propel protons at two thirds the speed of light directly into a tumor or diagnosed area, causing massive damage to the cancerous cells.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are virtually no symptoms for prostate cancer that can help men detect the disease early, which is why some people refer to this disease as the silent killer. The only sign of early onset prostate cancer is the urge to urinate more frequently, and as the cancer advances, blood may be detected in the urine (American). While these two symptoms are sometimes present in non-cancerous problems within the prostate, a prostate-specific antigen, or PSA blood test, can usually determine if cancer is in fact present. This test, while extremely beneficial, can be less accurate...
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