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New Proton Therapy Aimed at Helping Ex Smokers who Stopped Smoking

The great advantage of the new Proton Radiation Pencil is that it can deliver it’s dose of radiation directly to a tumor. It misses neighboring tissue in the process. This makes this new technology very effective in the treatment of cancer tumors. This is a great one-two punch to any cancer tumor. Proton radiation is very robust and therefore quite lethal to cancer cells.

The effectiveness of this new Pencil Beam Proton Radiation Therapy is remarkable. “The advantage lies in the beam’s capacity to approach the tumor from multiple directions, creating a “U” shape around these structures and avoiding them entirely during treatment.” said Dr. Cox. Brass templates are a thing of the past and no longer needed to outline the structure of the tumor. Dr. Cox who is the head of the Division of Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson.

The unique problem of lung cancer is that the lungs are very closely situated in proximity to other vital organs as well. For instance the heart, spine and aorta is within a very close distance to the lungs. The pinpoint accuracy involved here allows higher efficiency in killing cancer cells while saving large sections of healthy tissue. This effectively helps to solve issues that occur because of over radiating healthy tissue in the past.

Despite advances, the long term survival rates of lung cancer remain low, reinforcing the need to expand therapies that offer a greater combination of potency. For radiologists the mantra is, “To Deliver the Maximum Amount of Radiation to a Malignant Cancer Tumor, while at the same time, Protecting the surrounding Good and Useful Tissue from the Harmful Effects of Radiation.” Smoking is considered the leading cause of lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 222,520 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in 2010.

Many of these new lung cancer cases are thought to be related directly or indirectly to smoking. Smokers are urged to stop smoking to protect themselves and their families from the possibility of cancer. As we have learned, second hand smoke can be very dangerous and sometimes as dangerous as first hand smoke. Despite advances, the long term survival rates of lung cancer remain low, reinforcing the need to expand therapies that offer a greater combination of potency.

It is the first Cancer Therapy Center in North America to treat cancer patients with the new Pencil Beam Scanning Technology. MD Anderson’s Proton Therapy Center, in Houston Texas, began treatments on cancer patients in May of 2006. In addition, it is the first Cancer Center to use the Pencil Beam Scanning Proton Technology on lung cancer patients.

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