Protons versus “regular” radiation (photons)

For starters, if you get this as an email, I suggest you click on the link that takes you to the website where this blog is hosted. In other blogs (I can’t remember if they are on this website versus the one on the left, my former blog, that was hosted at Revolution Health) I have described the physics and rationale behind photon therapy as well as its cost. There is a new article by an expert in the field, Dr. Ted Lawrence, who is also a friend and chair of the radiation department at the University of Michigan. In the article, Ted argues that what is needed are some controlled trials to answer the many questions about protons. I urge you to read and consider his points. The only additional point I would make is that there should be some sort of way to evaluate outcomes that takes into account the “amount of benefit”. For example, what if the cure rate goes up by 3 % using photons, or what if it is 10%? Where do we draw the line? Additionally, what if bladder toxicity now only occurs in 15% and we drop that to 9%? These are tough questions in an era when we would all like to see Medicare start saving some money in order to save itself, if not the whole darn country.

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One response to “Protons versus “regular” radiation (photons)

  1. Jim Smitts

    I agree that all medical procedures are worth continual re-evaluation of effectiveness, but I’m concerned that proton therapy is too often being cast as an “experimental” treatment when in reality it has been around, legitimate and approved, for many years. It is not as common due to largely to the physical size and expenses of the equipment required for treatments, but it is often a better solution for many people.

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