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Proton Therapy Delivers Advantages for Esophageal Cancer Patients

Esophageal cancer isn’t the most commonly known form of this disease, but it’s among the deadliest. An estimated 16,980 new cases are reported each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Approximately 15,590 Americans die from the disease each and every year.

Considering those grim figures, effectively fighting this disease is a major priority for healthcare providers with patients who suffer from it. New research indicates that proton therapy may hold some advantages over other radiation techniques for effectively battling this disease.

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore recently undertook a study looking at the effectiveness of proton therapy in treating esophageal cancer. To arrive at their findings about this technique, researchers tracked 600 patients with the disease. When all was said and done, the researchers found that proton therapy was associated with a greatly reduced incident rate of nausea, blood abnormalities and appetite loss than more traditional, older radiation techniques.

Proton therapy calls for the use of a proton beam to irradiate tissue diseased with cancer. This therapy works in much the same manner as standard radiation therapy, but it is able to be targeted more precisely. This high level of precision quite often enables practitioners to more readily protect nearby tissue from damage. The main goal of both proton and standard radiation therapy is to eradicate cancer cells, but targeting issues can result in collateral damage to healthy cells.

The University of Maryland’s researchers say their study adds to the evidence that supports the benefits of proton therapy in preserving quality of life for cancer patients while effectively treating the disease. Proton therapy has also shown itself effective in treating brain, neck, lung and prostate cancer, among others.

People who are diagnosed with esophageal cancer are urged to discuss all their treatment options with their healthcare providers. Proton therapy may provide a viable option for treatment while sparing healthy tissue from damage in the process.

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