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U.S. Military Veterans With Chronic Pain Could Find Relief From Proton Therapy

November 05, 2015 12:58 PM

Exciting, new treatments are being tested using proton therapy at Loma Linda Cancer Center. Proton therapy compared to conventional photon therapy, leaves a more localized dose, with less radiation delivered to tissue behind the tumor. Because it affects less healthy tissue, doctors are able to treat other symptoms without major side effects.

In time for Veteran's Day this year, Loma Linda's physician-scientists are using proton beams to treat nerve areas that are causing chronic pain. "Nearly 100 million American adults suffer from chronic pain with that ailment disproportionately affecting those who have served or are serving in the military.", according to a June 2014 report in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Excerpt from the article: “Our study is focusing on the nerve areas where the pain is coming from. We are targeting those areas with proton beam radiation to neutralize the pain so the brain doesn’t interpret it as a painful area,” said Jerry D. Slater, MD, chairman and medical director of the LLUCC Department of Radiation Medicine and James M. Slater, MD, Proton Treatment & Research Center. “We hope that by neutralizing the pain, we can help decrease the need for pain medication, which not only is expensive, but can also have disabling side effects.”

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