We often get asked about the effectiveness that proton beam therapy has on treating brain tumours.
Helen, Our Director of Policy and Services, is on the NCRI Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Working Group, which helps to develop radiotherapy clinical trials. The group have recently approved a document which provides a detailed overview of proton beam therapy. You can read the document by clicking here.
The recent interest in proton beam therapy coincides with the publication of our new resource- my radiotherapy book. The resource outlines the range of treatment options currently available to people living with a brain tumour, and below is the response included on proton beam therapy.
It is important to know that proton beam treatment has never been compared with modern SRS or event SRT, so it may not be ‘better’ than the other treatment techniques. We cannot even say that proton beam therapy is ‘better’ overall than radiotherapy. At the moment there isn’t the research evidence to say whether proton beam therapy is a more effective treatment than conventional radiotherapy. Proton beam therapy may cause less damage to healthy tissue, but it is still unclear whether it is as good at destroying cancerous tissue as conventional radiotherapy. At the same time we have ample evidence that SRS and SRT protects adjacent normal tissue.
As proton beam therapy is usually reserved for very rare types of cancer, it is hard to gather systematic evidence about its effectiveness when compared to radiotherapy.
People who travel abroad from the UK to receive proton beam therapy usually respond well. But these people have been specifically selected for treatment as they were seen as ‘optimal candidates’ who would benefit the most. Whether this benefit would apply to more people with cancer is unclear.
You can read more about our new radiotherapy resource here.
Remember, if you ever need to talk through your treatment options, we’re here. Just give us a call on
01983 292 405 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org