Benefits of Proton Therapy
Proton therapy is a more precise form of radiation therapy that is an effective treatment option for many prostate cancer patients. It can be used alone or combined with other forms of treatment. Protons have distinct characteristics that allow the radiation beam to precisely target the tumor. This avoids unnecessary radiation to nearby healthy tissue and organs, ultimately reducing the risk of short-term and long-term side effects.
- Non-surgical, non-invasive
- Reduces risk of incontinence2 and erectile dysfunction.3
- Excellent success rates
- 99% for low risk prostate cancer
- 94% for medium risk prostate cancer
- 74% for high risk prostate cancer1
Compare Your Treatment Options
We believe the quality of your life during and after treatment matters. That’s why it’s important to be your own health advocate and understand all of your treatment options, as well as the possible side effects of each.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a prostate cancer treatment, including your Gleason Score and the stage of your cancer. In general, treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, brachytherapy, traditional x-ray radiation, proton therapy, or a combination of these.
- Considering Gleason Score & Cancer Stage
When choosing a prostate cancer treatment, your Gleason Score & cancer stage will be factors in determining the best plan.
After diagnosis, your prostate cancer is given a Gleason Score. This is determined by comparing the formation of cancer cells from your biopsy to normal healthy tissue. A lower score indicates a cell formation that more closely resembles healthy tissue. A higher score indicates a more aggressive cancer with abnormal cell formation. Your Gleason Score determines the cancer’s grade.
- Gleason Score 6 or below: Grade 1
- Gleason Score 7: Grade 2 or 3
- Gleason Score 8: Grade 4
- Gleason Score 9 or above: Grade 5
Prostate cancer staging combines clinical factors like a physical exam, PSA level, Gleason score and imaging to determine an alphanumerical score:
- Stage I
- Stage II
- Stage III (A, B or C)
- Stage IV (A or B)
For cancer in general, Stages 1 and 2 are usually localized, or limited to the original site. Stage 3 typically indicates the cancer has spread to nearby tissue. Stage 4 generally means the cancer has spread elsewhere within the body.
- Comparing Proton Therapy to Other Treatments
Patients report many quality-of-life benefits when comparing proton therapy to other common treatments, including surgery, brachytherapy and traditional radiation (x-ray/IMRT). Unlike surgery and brachytherapy, proton therapy is non-invasive. It is also a non-surgical procedure that doesn’t require a hospital stay.
When asked about their quality of life after prostate cancer treatment, men treated with proton therapy reported:
- Higher overall quality of life after treatment
- Remaining more active during treatment
- Better urinary control after treatment
- Maintaining sexual function after treatment
Proton therapy is one of the world’s most advanced forms of radiation therapy. The precision of proton therapy makes it an effective treatment option for many prostate cancer patients. Protons have distinct characteristics that allow the radiation beam to precisely target the tumor, avoiding unnecessary radiation to nearby healthy tissue and organs. Ultimately, this reduces the patient’s risk of short-term and long-term side effects.
View “Quality of Life Survey” results to see patient-reported outcomes supporting the many benefits of proton therapy for prostate cancer treatment.
- Why Choose Protons Over X-rays?
Proton therapy and traditional radiation are similarly effective when it comes to destroying cancer cells. However, proton therapy’s ability to avoid unnecessary radiation to nearby healthy tissue and organs reduces your risk of side effects.
Research shows proton therapy has many clinical benefits compared to x-rays/Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT).
21% lower risk of urinary toxicity2
25% lower risk of erectile dysfunction3
35% less radiation to the bladder5
42% decrease in relative risk of developing a secondary malignancy4
50% less treatment-related bowel frequency and urgency2
59% less radiation to the rectum5
How Proton Therapy Works
When protons enter the body, most of their energy is deposited at the targeted tumor and do not continue beyond that target. This unique behavior allows protons to destroy cancer cells while minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissue and critical organs. This is different from traditional radiation, in which x-rays deposit more radiation before their target, then continue delivering radiation beyond the target until exiting the body.
The image above shows the difference between protons and x-rays (IMRT). The goal of treatment is to deliver the proper dose of radiation directly to the tumor, while limiting the amount of exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. This is illustrated by the orange area, which represents proton therapy. On the other hand, the gray area shows how x-rays use IMRT to deliver radiation. Much of the healthy tissue in front of the target receives unnecessary radiation, and by the nature of x-rays, more unnecessary radiation is delivered beyond the tumor, compared to proton therapy.
``I was just blown away by the culture and atmosphere of Provision. That sealed the deal. I felt and continue to feel at home here.``
``As you consider all your treatment options, proton therapy should be included. I believe God placed the right doctors around me to help me make an informed treatment decision.``
``I talked to at least a dozen men who had done traditional therapy, but they’d all had side effects. Then I found proton therapy.”
``I am just amazed at the bedside manners at Provision. It’s from the minute I walk in, to the minute I walk out.”
Only Proton Center in East TN
Provision CARES Proton Therapy is located in West Knoxville. Our beautiful Dowell Springs campus is less than 10 minutes from downtown, just off Middlebrook Pike.
From the moment you walk through our doors, you’ll be greeted at the front desk by our happy and friendly Hospitality Coordinators. They can answer many of your questions and will happily provide hospitality services around the area.
Beautiful, Spacious Campus
Our Dowell Springs campus includes walking trails and water features designed to bring comfort and peace of mind to patients and families.
As you walk into the treatment room for your procedure, you’ll be greeted by beautifully large images of the East Tennessee landscape to help calm any nerves you have.
Power of Protons
Our treatment rooms are designed with your comfort in mind. All of our clinical staff members are highly trained experts in their field who care deeply about your experience at Provision.
Comfort and Convenience
We make every effort to create a non-clinical environment whenever possible. Our treatment center has a large, open parking lot – no parking garages or stairways to worry about. Patients can be dropped off right outside the front doors at our covered entryway.
- Sources & Studies
1. Five-Year Biochemical Results, Toxicity, and Patient-Reported Quality of Life After Delivery of Dose-Escalated Image Guided Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer. www.redjournal.org/article/S0360-3016(16)00158-9/pdf
2. Comparative Effectiveness Study of Patient-Reported Outcomes following Proton Therapy or IMRT for Prostate Cancer. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103169/pdf/nihms-549318.pdf
3. Comparative toxicity and cost of Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy, Proton Radiation, and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy Among Younger Men With Prostate Cancer. ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/JCO.2017.75.5371
4. Proton Therapy Is Associated with Superior Survival and Decreased Risk of Complications Compared to IMRT for Intermediate Risk Prostate Cancer: A Medicare/SEER Database Study.
5. Dose–Volume Comparison of Proton Therapy and Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer. www.redjournal.org/article/S0360-3016(07)03662-0/fulltext