If you or a loved one has recently received a cancer diagnosis, it is still good to know that there is hope. While the standard procedure for treating cancer entails chemotherapy, there are alternate treatments that are on the market. In particular, proton therapy can be a viable option. Protons are one of the basic constituents of atoms, which are the component of matter of all forms. Treating cancer via proton therapy first started in the United States in 1974, and is still continuing this day. Before undergoing proton therapy or recommending proton therapy to a loved one, it is always advantageous to compare the advantages and disadvantages to the method. Here are some pros and cons that you may want to consider:
If you have had a past history with medical illnesses, or if you are sensitive to medications, then proton therapy could be a valuable option to consider. The reason is that proton therapy attacks a very specific portion of the body – where the tumor is – so that it does minimal harm to the other surrounding portions of the body. In particular, it is safe to use especially when the tumor that needs to be treated is embedded around other very sensitive tissues, such as the brain.
Proton therapy can be useful to children, as it can treat any cancers they have while not damaging their immune system or potentially others parts of their growing, nascent bodies. In addition, the proton therapy is ideal when the patient is still at the early stages of cancer when the tumor has not yet spread very far, as it combats a very specific section of the tumor. Proton therapy also has a very short radiation timespan. This could be an important factor to consider in light of other people that you or a loved one with cancer may live with. As it has a short lifespan, the chances of the patient getting other people radiated decreasing, making the home safer than if he or she underwent alternative therapeutic methods.
On the other hand, this is not to say that undergoing proton therapy is not without its drawbacks. One immediate con for this therapy is the price. Currently, proton therapy is more expensive than standard therapy, which means that undergoing this therapy method could become a large financial burden on families that have modest income (it is often the case that insurance companies have varying policies on how much they will cover for the costs of the therapy, if at all). And obtaining the money or the insurance benefits necessary to obtain the therapy may not be your only issue – your location is another. Proton therapy, still new and currently under development in the United States, only serves a handful of geographical areas. It may be likely that if you or someone you know where to take the therapy that you or they would have to travel far in order to obtain it. Again, these are factors that you will need to weigh in deciding whether or not proton therapy would be the best option.
Choosing the right cancer treatment can be difficult, especially when there are so many different ones to choose from. Of course, no one of them is perfect or infallible, and none of them are guaranteed to work. On the other hand, it always best to make informed decisions regarding which treatments to take on by considering the good and the bad for each specific one. Choosing a treatment that is right for you can save you valuable time and energy.