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Proton Therapy

Posts: 261
Joined: Sep 2010

"A study of Medicare records found that men treated with proton beams later had one-third more bowel problems, such as bleeding and blockages, than similar men given conventional radiation.

This is an observational study so it is not definitive, but it is one of the largest to compare these treatments. Proton therapy is rapidly growing in use – Medicare covers it – even though no rigorous studies have tested whether it is as safe or effective as usual care."

The full article can be found in the Huffington Post (see link below). (Its not a medical journal but...). You may be able to google the full study if you are interested.


Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2012

During the meeting with my urologist last week to discuss options, he brought up this article on his desktop PC and showed it to me - almost gleefully after I mentioned I wanted to check into PBT.

Two things... I know some proton patients have reported a brief period of rectal bleeding up to 2 years after that mostly passes (according to what I've read). Are they including these passing side effects in those numbers?

Also, the article did admit there were fewer sexual side effects with PBT.

Posts: 261
Joined: Sep 2010

Hey Flyguy,

Yeah, I can understand a urologist "gleefully" trashing PBT ... protecting their income. Based on the adds I see on TV for PCA surgery, radiation, etc. it is a big business that has become very competitive. I think some hospitals, clinics, etc. aren't seeing the returns they expected when they bought some very expensive robots, and radiation devices.

I can't answer your question about the possibility of the study including the passing side effects. I had always heard that PBT was superior to other forms of radiation for treating PCa; therefore, I found the study interesting in that it seemed to indicate it was not.

I found that in choosing a PCa treatment you do your research and read the studies and then make the best decision you can based on your conditions and priorities. One guys conditions and priorities may not be the same as anothers. I gather one of your priorities is avoiding sexual side effects; therefore, PBT may very well be a good choice.

Best wishes and good luck in your fight against PCa.

Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2011

The #1 issue I found with PBT is the lack of documentation. Even though it appears to be great for lower risk patients, you will not find many documented studies on cure rates and side effects. I was very close to PBT, but this lack of evidence troubled me enough to look elsewhere for a treatment option.

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