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Proton Radiation Therapy for prostate cancer and other cancers

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2011

I am done with a 28 treatment proton therapy plan at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute Center in Jacksonville. Initial PSA 5.5 Gleason 6 and T1c score. First let me say that Proton Therapy for my low grade prostate cancer was the best solution for me. I am relatively young, still play volleyball, swim and do other physical activities that could have been compromised with surgery, IMRT or radioactive pellets all of which damage sensitive nerves and tissues around the prostate more than Proton Therapy. I web researched Proton Therapy when I was making my decision and found some papers presented on it at the University of Penn. showing that this treatment protocol is the way that many Drs. in proton therapy are leaning. I have no more side effects (changes in urinary sensation and other minor changes)than my peers doing the 39 treatment proto and all of them have subsided significantly since I stopped treatment 3 weeks ago. I was able to work normally through treatment and have not had any interruption in any of my normal physical activities and bodily functions. The protocol goal is to accomplish the same results as the longer course by using higher individual proton doses but reducing the overall total body dose of radiation. (a plus in my book) UFPTI says that they have had no change in reported side effects or overall effectiveness using this protocol. Contact them for more info. The advantage to me are having to undergo 11 less treatments and therefore reducing my treatment bill by +/-20%. My doctor at UFPTI said that the Institute is planning to make this protocol their primary treatment for prostate cancer within the next year or two. The advantage to the center is that this protocol allows them to treat 20% more patients! The biggest disadvantage of Proton Therapy is the low number of Proton Centers and the expense of living away from home during treatment. Outcomes are only a few years old so not instructive at this point. The overall outcomes of Proton Therapy going back 15 years at Loma Linda are far better than other therapies. Check with UFPTI about their success and side effect rates. The UFPTI website is http://www.floridaproton.org/

For more info on prostate cancer treatment by proton therapy, contact the Brotherhood of the Balloon blogs of proton prostate cancer recipients. http://www.protonbob.com/proton-treatment-homepage.asp Robert Markini is collecting the experiences of men who have gone through the short course for posting on the blogs there.

By the way, the Proton Center is doing treatment for lung, pancreatic, brain and spinal cord cancers. They are starting a protocol on breast cancer at UFPTI.

VascodaGama's picture
Posts: 2544
Joined: Nov 2010


Thanks for sharing your experiences with proton therapy. Many will not agree with your comments fully (in particular regarding damage to “sensitive nerves”) but proton is the best way of delivering radiation to a target today. The big difference between photons vz protons treatments are that photons reach the target and continuous on its path whether protons reach the target and “stop”. This is known as the Bragg Peak.

Here is information on the principle;

The newer pencil-type proton rays have added precision of delivery therefore still indicative of better results in prostate cancer treatment, in regards to typical symptoms.
However radiation is not a “walk in the park” as many say. The negative levels of risks are there even if lower side effects are expected. I believe that you have been informed by the doctors handling your case.

I wish you a continuous positive outcome.


Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2011

Welcome Moyes:

If not for my intermediate risk staging, Proton would have been my choice.

One clarification....PBT does not have a history of delivering better outcomes than all other Radio Therapy options. This is too broad a statement given that other choices actually deliver better long-term cure results. This is the very reason I did not choose it in the end. It delivers excellent outcomes for low risk patients, and possibly superior morbidity rates, but the long-term statistics do not support such a statement.

Good luck and best wishes for the future.


Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2011

I likewise was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer but consider myself fortunate,in that the cancer appears to have been caught early (Gleason score 6). By chance I happened to hear about proton therapy and discovered that a new treatment center (www.procure.com) had opened up recently within 35 miles of my home . Having done my research, the decision for me was made easier and I have just completed my last treatment using this type of therapy.

Being brand new, the facility was state of the art and designed so as to not give the appearance of a typical hospital setting. It really made it conducive to interacting with some of the other patients with similar issues, and certainly made my 44 treatments seem to go a lot quicker.

I guess my only complaint is that as far as a treatment is concerned, I happened to come across proton therapy by chance. (By the way, that seems to be the experience of nearly all of the prostate patients I met with during my treatments. Most of their urologists did not mention it when considering treatment options). I really think it would be nice to have the information readily out there so that each person could make an informed decision, no matter what treatment they choose.

Right now I can report no adverse side affects and await my PSA test in about 2 months.

Good luck and God Bless.


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