Proton Therapy: A Success Story Made Known on the Today Show

<b>Proton Therapy: A Success Story Made Known on the Today Show</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Proton therapy, a radiation therapy that is growing in popularity among cancer patients, promises astounding results. Thanks to NBC correspondent George Lewis’ “prostate diary” report on The Today Show, Americans now know more about the advantages of proton therapy.

“I went on a radiation vacation,” stated NBC’s Lewis.” If you’re a guy worried about your male components, limiting collateral damage is an important consideration and a major selling point for the advocates of proton therapy.”

Dr. Jerry Slater, head of radiation medicine at Loma Linda University in Southern California, is fond of putting it this way: “Unlike conventional radiation, proton radiation has a well-defined high dose area which can be manipulated to precisely surround an irregularly shaped target.” The result? Protons destroy cancerous cells without damaging healthy cells.

Prostate cancer patients like Lewis, who did his homework, decided proton treatment at Loma Linda was his best option to avoid the side effects he was concerned about.

Another good example is children with cancer, who frequently experience devastating side effects from conventional radiation, such as growth inhabitation, can develop normally after receiving proton therapy treatment. It’s no wonder the nation’s five proton centers cannot keep up with patient demand. As Lewis reported, some patients with limited health care coverage, or patients from abroad, have been willing to personally supplement reimbursement to gain the advantages of proton therapy.

Medicare and most private health insurers cover the costs of proton therapy procedures. A vast majority of cancer patients agree on one thing -; technologies that promote faster healing with fewer side effects prove priceless.

From a physician’s perspective, the aim is to “do no harm” -; however, radiation therapists know that traditional radiation can destroy healthy cells and tissue. In most cases, radiation oncologists cannot deliver enough radiation to destroy tumors without compromising patient health.

In contrast, proton therapy can help patients not only survive cancer, but offer hope for a cure in addition to returning to a normal life afterwards. Lewis said he sailed through nine weeks of proton therapy. “Today, I feel great, and my 40 inch waistline is shrinking as I work on eating less and exercising more.”

For more information, call 800-protons (776-8667) or visit or

Men Have New Resource for Prostate Cancer Information

<b>Men Have New Resource for Prostate Cancer Information</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – When Robert Marckini was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he had no trouble finding information about his disease. Instead, Marckini experienced a different kind of dilemma: The more information he gathered, the more confused and anxious he became.

Marckini resolved to help men experiencing a similar predicament. After receiving proton beam radiation therapy from southern California’s Loma Linda University Medical Center, Marckini wrote a book that he hopes will serve as a one-stop source for information about prostate cancer and the different steps in coping with it.

The book, “You Can Beat Prostate Cancer,” is a memoir-like account of Marckini’s cancer experience that additionally describes the specific facts about testing processes, diagnoses and available treatment options.

The book also includes helpful hints throughout its text as well as a list of 10 things that men can do to take control of the detection and treatment of their cancer. Here are a few of those suggestions:

* Have an annual digital rectal exam. Marckini writes that it’s unwise to rely solely on one test to diagnose prostate cancer. He suggests that men receive several tests, including annual DREs.

* Talk to others. Marckini suggests that prostate cancer patients speak with other men who have had each of the treatments they are considering. Marckini created a Web site,, that partly serves as a means for prostate cancer survivors and patients to interact.

* Personally choose your treatment. Weigh the pros and cons of each available cancer treatment and then make a decision based on your own criteria.

Marckini says that he chose to receive proton beam therapy for a variety of reasons, including the painlessness of the treatment and the 89 percent disease-free survival rate of patients.

By shaping a beam to match the specific shape of a tumor, proton beam therapy delivers high-energy particles to a tumor site while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. The facility at Loma Linda University Medical Center remains the world’s largest proton treatment center, treating 140 to 150 patients per day.

For more information on proton therapy, call 800-PROTONS (800-776-8667) or visit To learn more about the book, log on to

More U.S. Hospitals Offering Proton Beam Therapy

<b>More U.S. Hospitals Offering Proton Beam Therapy</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Proton beam therapy is increasingly being used to treat various cancers – so much that new centers are being planned for Hampton University in Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia.

The new sites are expected to cost between $190 and $250 million and open over the next three years. Dr. James Slater of Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California, a pioneer of clinical proton therapy, foresees upwards of 100 proton centers in the U.S. in the coming decades.

Proton beam therapy is a type of radiation that can precisely target tumors while sparing surrounding tissue and causing fewer side effects than traditional radiation. Proton beams deliver a low dose of therapy as it enters the body and releases virtually all of its energy at the targeted tumor site.

Currently there are three other proton beam therapy centers operating in the U.S. They are located at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Indiana University in Bloomington and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. They collectively have the capacity to treat 5,000 patients annually.

The center at Loma Linda, which opened in 1990, is the world’s first hospital-based proton treatment facility.

Initially, many radiologists and oncologists questioned the therapy’s cost and effectiveness. However, by the late 1990s, many had begun to recognize its benefits as studies showed excellent outcomes and significantly reduced side effects.

And that’s when Massachusetts General Hospital, the teaching hospital for Harvard’s medical school, built the second U.S. hospital-based proton treatment facility. Indiana University’s Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute opened for clinical care next.

“Oncologists have long known that substituting proton radiation for X-rays now used to treat about half of all cancer patients would do less harm to normal tissues and organs and more damage to malignant growths,” said Dr. James Cox, chairman of

radiation oncology and medical director of the proton cancer center at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, which is set to open in spring 2006.

Seven proton centers are either under construction or being planned nationwide, said Leonard Arzt, executive director of the National Association for Proton Therapy. By the summer of 2006, the University of Florida’s Proton Therapy Institute will begin treating patients on the Shands Medical Center campus in Jacksonville.

Loma Linda has performed more than 250,000 proton treatments on more than 10,000 patients for various types of cancers, including prostate, head and neck tumors, eye tumors, certain lung cancers and abdominal cancers.

“At first, we treated three or four types of tumors, now we treat 50 types,” said Dr. Jerry Slater, chairman of radiation medicine at Loma Linda, which plans a new scanning technology to treat breast and more complicated lung cancers.

For more information, visit or call (800) PROTONS.

Patient Demand for Proton Therapy On the Rise

<b>Patient Demand for Proton Therapy On the Rise</b> (NU) – More than 50 years ago, Dr. Robert R. Wilson proposed using proton radiation to fight cancerous tumors. Wilson was a scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project developing the atomic bomb and later championed the peaceful use of atomic energy. Today, the “father of proton therapy,” as he is often called, would be stunned by the growth and development of proton therapy in this country.

Before Wilson died, he saw his dream come true during a visit to the world’s first hospital-based proton center at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California. His legacy lives on in the thousands of lives spared by proton therapy.

“The primary reasons for the growth of proton therapy, from a patient’s perspective, are that it is noninvasive and nonthreatening to healthy cells and organs, produces better outcomes and has fewer adverse side effects,” said Leonard Arzt, executive director of the National Association for Proton Therapy.

“We hear from grateful patients and their families, who have experienced the advantages of proton therapy. Many patients have come to realize that the treatment is no longer as frightening as the disease itself,” Arzt said.

Take, for example, men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Since the mid-1990s, men have taken their fate into their own hands, formed their own word-of-mouth networks, shared information and experiences, and referred themselves for treatment to the few proton therapy centers in the United States, such as Loma Linda University. Many of these men successfully sought noninvasive proton radiation therapy as an alternative to radical prostate surgery.

As additional medical studies are published about the advantages of proton radiation and the positive outcomes resulting from modern patient treatment protocols, the referring medical community may begin to realize that proton therapy could help their patients.

A good example is the newly published Journal of the American Medical Association study of 500 men who have had surgery for prostate cancer and have relapsed with the disease. The study says that if doctors treat them early with radiation therapy, such as proton radiation, these men can be cured. Other recent studies have established the greater efficacy of proton therapy over standard radiation therapy.

The increased demand for proton therapy has motivated one of the most prominent cancer centers in the world. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is building a $125 million proton facility due to open for patients in early 2006.

For further information, go to or call 1-800-PROTONS.