Prostate Cancer Patients Deserve Proton Therapy Option
National Association for Proton Therapy Responds to ASTRO
WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Radiation oncologists, urologists and other physicians who treat men with prostate cancer should not limit a patient's treatment options by suggesting only one form of radiation, says the National Association for Proton Therapy.
"Patients and physicians have a number of options when approaching prostate cancer," says Leonard Arzt, Executive Director of the National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT). "We believe that all options, including proton therapy, should be available through an informed decision making process. The choice of treatment will have an enormous impact on the patient's health and ability to enjoy his life. Patients have a right to know what is available to them."
After a careful review of all of the available peer-reviewed literature on proton therapy, in 2011 an expert panel from the American College of Radiology concluded that proton therapy is equally appropriate and as beneficial as IMRT, 3-D conformal X-ray therapy and brachytherapy in treating Stages T1 and T2 prostate cancer.
Consistent with a recent statement from the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) that suggests prostate cancer patients referred for proton therapy should be in "a prospective clinical trial or registry," most prostate cancer patients currently being treated with proton therapy in the US are in a clinical trial or a registry. Although there are more than 6 dozen proton therapy studies currently accruing patients in the US, the fact is that adopting new techniques in radiation therapy has never been based on the results of prospective randomized data. New approaches, including IMRT and 3-D conformal X-ray, have been adopted as soon as they became available, in large part because radiation is known to be harmful and techniques that expose patients to less harm have been welcome.
Proton therapy for prostate cancer is clinically proven to benefit patients while causing fewer changes in quality of life than either IMRT or 3DCRT. Proton therapy treatment also reduces the risk of a second malignancy, when compared with contemporary IMRT. Studies have demonstrated little to no decline in genitourinary and gastrointestinal function for men treated with proton therapy and a faster return to pre-treatment function, compared to standard X-ray radiation therapy.
Ninety nine percent of proton therapy patients believe they made the right choice, according to an NAPT survey released in February 2013. Conducted by The Brotherhood of the Balloon, the study included results from one fifth of all men who had received proton therapy for prostate cancer.
"Surely all prostate cancer patients deserve the opportunity to choose a therapy that causes fewer side effects during treatment and fewer adverse changes in their long term lifestyles while offering benefits equal to other radiation," Mr. Arzt says.
The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) is a non-profit organization supported by proton center members and is "The Voice of the Proton Community". The NAPT promotes education and public awareness for the clinical benefits of proton beam radiation therapy. Founded in 1990, NAPT is an advocate for the advancement and future access of proton therapy. It provides the number one website for patients, physicians, health care providers and the news media. NAPT's site is www.proton-therapy.org.
SOURCE National Association for Proton Therapy