Proton Beam Radiation Therapy

Proton beam therapy focuses beams of protons instead of x-rays on the cancer. Protons are positive parts of atoms. Unlike x-rays, which release energy both before and after they hit their target, protons cause little damage to tissues they pass through and release their energy only after traveling a certain distance. This means that proton beam radiation can, in theory, deliver more radiation to the prostate while doing less damage to nearby normal tissues. Proton beam radiation can be aimed with similar techniques to 3D-CRT and IMRT.
Although early results are promising, so far studies have not shown that proton beam therapy is better in the long-run than other types of external beam radiation. Right now, proton beam therapy is not widely available. The machines needed to make protons are very expensive, and they aren’t available in many centers in the United States. Proton beam radiation might not be covered by all insurance companies at this time.

• Bowel problems
• Bladder problems
• Urinary incontinence
• Erection problems, including impotence
• Might not be covered by all insurance companies