I looked around and there are a lot of posted articles by reputable medical institutions that you can find searching “photon vs. proton.” Another question a patient can ask his or her doctor is which form of radiation would be better for me?
There are different types of radiation treatment, and one of the differences among them is how precisely a tumor can be targeted without risk to nearby organs. The amount of radiation needed to treat the tumor is factored in. When I was sent for radiation treatment, the radiologist first performed a study of the radiation impact in my GI tract. Then, and this was also needed for insurance purposes, he had to demonstrate how much radiation would be received by nearby organs with different radiation options. The study demonstrated I needed IMRT radiation, which is more tightly targeted than other types.
Our cancer mainly resides in the gastro-intestinal tract, a tight geography crowded with essential organs. Often our patients have tumors whose location necessitates a form of radiation that can be tightly focused but still be effective. A radiologist will advise which form of radiation is best for each patient. Now that more and more medical centers have proton facilities, it may become a more frequent option considered for patients.
You asked about post-resection radiation. Did you mean as an adjuvant treatment right after surgery or to treat a recurrence? In my case, the radiation was adjuvant, and was targeted on the surgical margins and nearby lymph nodes.
Hi Gavin, I had not read this PubMed article when I posted my message last night about the MD Anderson study. I’m glad to see this type of therapy is still being explored. It seems like such an attractive option, I am trying to figure out whether it is widely practiced, or routinely offered as an option to eligible patients. My brother in law is treated at Mass General, which is a leader in this field along with MD Anderson. Thanks. Betsy