Prostate Cancer Patients Experience Minimal Side Effects With Proton Therapy, Benchmark Study Shows

November 1, 2009

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Researchers at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute have early evidence that prostate cancer patients treated with proton therapy experience minimal urinary and rectal side effects. Dr. Nancy P. Mendenhall presented the benchmark study results Nov. 2 at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s 51st Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The study compiles data from 212 men treated on three clinical protocols from August 2006 to October 2007 for low risk, intermediate risk and high risk prostate cancer. The results show that 99 percent of patients receiving high dose proton therapy are free from severe treatment-related complications in the genitourinary (GU) and gastrointestinal (GI) systems one year after treatment.

Proton therapy is a form of radiation that uses particles of energy to deposit a high dose of targeted radiation. Because protons have mass, they can be manipulated to stop and release a burst of radiation in the tumor, with little or no radiation to surrounding tissues and critical organs. This makes it possible for doctors to effectively treat tumors in the head and neck, eye, brain, lung, and prostate with a reduced risk of treatment related side effects. In addition, proton therapy is particularly useful for children with cancer, who suffer significant late effects from radiation therapy.

Since opening in August 2006, UF Proton Therapy Institute has treated more than 1,500 patients, a majority of whom are participating in clinical protocols. Affiliated with the UF College of Medicine, the nonprofit 501 (c) 3 cancer treatment and research center is the only proton therapy facility in the Southeast and one of six in the United States. The cancer treatment facility houses both conventional radiation and proton therapy, and delivers proton therapy to 100 patients a day. For more information about UF Proton Therapy Institute, please visit www.floridaproton.org, or call toll-free 877-686-6009.

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