Two new Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) centers will be added to those already operating around the country. CLICK IMAGE
We received a Mayo publication newsletter reporting that Proton Beam Therapy (with pencil beam scanning) will be available in Rochester in the summer of 2015 and in Arizona in 2016. According to Mayo, this new more precise technology can avoid damaging tissues surrounding tumors. They write, “The proton stops after hitting the target.” This therapy can reach tumors deep within the body.
Anderson Cancer Center in Texas also has this technology. “MD Anderson is currently using pencil beam scanning to treat cancers of the prostate, brain, base of the skull and eye. As the technology evolves, pencil beam will ultimately be applied to any tumor site where proton therapy is used, particularly for treating solid tumors in children, who are generally more sensitive to the adverse effects of radiation.”
Who has access to protons? The Loma Linda VA has (had?) clinical trial for proton beam for HCC but I don’t see much information on the website yet. Medicare covers some treatments. The VA’s purchased care office could be queried if you are interested. CHAMPVA Policy Manual approves different types of radiation therapies including proton beam for prostrate cancer (Section 30:13–accessed today). Private insurers are not covering some proton beam cancer treatments, according to these articles in the LA Times (8/28/13) and Kaiser Health News because they are more expensive than standard radiation. However, a glance at the graphic below, clearly illustrated the desirability of the highly targeted beam.
Cancers that can be treated with PBT: Bone Cancer; Brain Cancer; Eye Cancer; Head and Neck Cancer; Hodgkin ; Lymphoma; Lung Cancer; Pancreatic Cancer; Pediatric Cancer; Brain Tumors; Pediatric Sarcoma; Retinoblastoma; Neuroblastoma; Lymphomas; Other Rare Tumors; Prostate Cancer; Sarcoma.