Proton therapy offers positive outcomes for many types of cancers, including breast cancer. The technology allows your physician to deliver a high dose of radiation directly to the tumor site while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues and organs from harm. This is especially important in breast cancer, as there are so many critical structures nearby including the heart, chest wall and lungs.
JAMA Internal Medicine states that women who received radiation for breast cancer face up to a 3.5% higher risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular issues than women who have not been treated with radiation. The risk is greatest for women who have had radiation to their left breast, as it is in close proximity to the heart. Proton therapy reduces the risk of cardiovascular issues and heart attack for women with breast cancer due to its precise targeting of the cancer cells.
Not long ago, the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics (Red Journal) noted that accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) with proton therapy may be both time saving and cost effective for breast cancer patients post-surgery. This method also offers reduced treatment time and less collateral damage – it spares the majority of the breast tissue from radiation, since the dose is delivered only to the portion of the breast where the tumor was located prior to surgical removal.
Here at Ackerman Cancer Center, we are fortunate to be able to offer our patients multiple radiation therapy delivery options, including proton therapy. Our team will always develop a comparative treatment plan and discuss your options with you to put you on the best path forward.
Previously, the assumption has been that proton therapy is too expensive as compared to other therapies. I believe that these studies show that carefully analyzing the cost and benefit of all types of therapies is the best way to make sure that every patient receives the most effective treatment delivered in a cost-conscious manner.
For questions about proton therapy for breast cancer treatment, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All my best,
Babita Jyoti, MD