WHAT PROTON INTERNATIONAL DOES
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Proton therapy is a scarce cancer treatment resource for patients across the world. Proton therapy has unequivocally demonstrated its ability to focus and deliver radiation therapy to difficult-to-treat anatomic areas, to deliver high doses of radiation to radioresistant tumors, and to minimize and reduce radiation dose delivered to normal tissues and normal organs around tumors and in the path of radiation.
It is an undisputed paradigm that a reduced dose to normal tissues will result in reduced likelihood of radiation damage. It is also undisputed, that radiation can kill any cancer cell – regardless of radioresistant or sensitive to radiation, as long as the radiation can be delivered to its intended location in the body to hit those cancer cells.
Proton therapy has proven its superior ability compared to conventional X-ray irradiation to meet both goals simultaneously – namely the safe, and organ sparing delivery of high-dose radiation.
At present, proton therapy is more costly than conventional X-ray based radiotherapy for the patient or his/her insurance since the equipment to produce and deliver proton therapy is expensive to build and operate.
Presently, there are by far fewer proton therapy centers available worldwide compared to the number of patients who would benefit from proton therapy. Most countries have no operational therapy center at present and patients seeking proton therapy have to travel outside the country.
In addition, proton therapy centers are not distributed evenly around the world, but clustered in few countries – mainly the USA, Japan, and some European nations – a summary of countries offering proton therapy at present can be found at the following LINK.
The higher costs of building and operating a proton therapy center have resulted in various different Health Care Policies regarding specific acceptance of Proton Therapy as alternative to conventional X-ray therapy. Some countries have a very narrow list of cancer types (called “indications”) approved for proton therapy, some countries have no official approval at all, and other countries permit use of proton therapy for a wide range of diseases. For the patients and physicians alike it is very confusing to sort through the specifics of logistics, availability, government or insurance reimbursement policy – at a time when a patient’s life is threatened, the focus needs to be on fighting the cancer.