Proton Therapy is generating huge excitement in the Michigan medical community, and the excitement is well-founded. Unlike traditional x-ray radiation, proton beam therapy creates a beam of charged protons to target and destroy a more precise, defined area of cancerous cells. Radiation energy is delivered precisely at the defined site of the tumor, not along the path through the body as with standard radiation. This means that proton therapy spares significantly more surrounding healthy tissue and organs and produces fewer side effects for patients. Proton therapy also allows physicians to penetrate deeper tumors because higher levels of radiation can be used without fear of impact on surrounding healthy tissue.
While conventional radiation is effective at treating many types of cancer, there are significant benefits to proton beam radiation over conventional therapy for localized tumors. By more finely shaping and narrowing the radiation beam used to treat tumors, proton beam therapy allows accuracy to the millimeter. The energy is accurately controlled, and there is no exit radiation. This is especially effective for tumors in the brain, spine, lung, pancreas and prostate, as well as for pediatric cancers that now must go out of state for treatment.
The benefits are many. Patients with tumors that may have been inoperable will gain a new treatment option, one that may previously have been impossible due to distance, cost or unavailability. All of the hospitals and physicians affiliated with McLaren Health Care will be able to refer patients to the facility as well as other physicians and hospitals throughout the state, the region and the nation.