Prostate cancer patients treated with proton therapy at Loma Linda – Breakthrough study reaffirms proton therapy efficacy

LOMA LINDA – Prostate cancer patients treated with proton therapy at Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) have a post-treatment quality of life on par with men who have never been treated for cancer, according to a study presented at the annual American Society for Radiation Oncologists meeting in Boston.

The breakthrough study evaluated the quality of life of approximately 1,000 prostate cancer patients following proton therapy treatment at five centers and compared them to men who haven’t been treated for cancer. 

Of the 1,000 prostate cancer patients surveyed, 80 percent were treated at LLUMC’s James M. Slater Proton Treatment & Research Center, the first and foremost hospital-based proton treatment center in the nation.   

“This study reaffirms the results we’ve seen from our patients for the past 22 years and supports the mountain of evidence regarding the efficacy of proton therapy,” said Jerry D. Slater, MD, chairman of the LLUMC Center. 

Dr. Slater and Dr. David Bush, vice-chairman of the Department of Radiation at LLUMC, were co-authors of the study entitled “Multi-Institutional Patient-Reported Quality of Life After Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer Compared to Non-Treated Men.”

The study analyzed men at a median age of 65 who were at least one year from the end of their proton therapy treatment and specifically looked at their urinary, hormonal and bowel functions. In all of these areas, men who had been treated for prostate cancer with proton therapy fared as well, if not better, than the men who never had cancer. Sexual differentiators existed in men who were slightly older than the median age and/or were taking hormone therapy.

“Proton therapy is a highly effective treatment for prostate cancer as the targeted proton beams spare surrounding healthy tissue and minimize the typical side effects from standard photon beam radiation including incontinence and impotence,” said Dr. Slater.   

Since LLUMC brought modern proton treatment for cancer into the mainstream in 1990, there have been countless studies and trials that have shown proton therapy to be the treatment of choice for many types of cancer. Over the years, proton treatment has been refined and, coupled with leading-edge technology, has become one of the best treatment options for doctors and patients.  

While prostate cancer remains one of the primary uses for proton therapy, the pinpoint accuracy of the proton beam also makes it a highly effective form of treatment for many other types of tumors including those found in the head, neck, lung and breast.


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