New Study Finds Proton Therapy's Increased Radiation Dose an Advantage for Early Stage Prostate Cancer Patients

A new study of 393 men with early stage prostate cancer was presented October 5, 2004 at the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) 46th annual meeting. It showed a decided advantage for proton beam radiation because of its ability to deliver escalated dosages with better control and minimal to no side effects. The study also showed an increased disease-free survival rate with the delivery of higher doses.

The study was conducted by cooperating investigators from two proton facilities currently treating patients. They are Loma Linda University Medical Center in southern, California, and the Northeast Proton Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. For two decades before Loma Linda opened the world's first hospital-based proton center in 1990, standard x-ray radiation therapy was one of the standard methods for treating prostate cancer. But radiation oncologists were forced into limiting doses for fear of inducing serious bladder or rectal side effects. In recent years standard radiation technology has improved considerably and side effects are much less common. However, the new study suggests that radiation oncologists using proton therapy can be more aggressive and can deliver higher doses with superior control in their treatment of prostate cancer.

ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world with more than 7,500 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies.

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