The Advantages of Combining Treatment
There are advantages to being able to combine different types of cancer treatment for patients, as this allows for a flexible approach, giving the patient the best chance of remission. Some forms of treatment are more effective in certain areas of the body than others.
One of the areas where using proton beam therapy can be beneficial, is to treat tumours in the brain, where reducing the long-term risk of damage to non-cancerous cells is of high importance. This treatment is also used to treat tumours in other harder to reach areas of the body, including the head and neck region, lungs, breasts, bowel and spine.
If the size of the tumour means that surgery may prove problematic, due to the presence of vital organs or sensitive body tissue, a course of proton beam therapy may be recommended by the consultant to help decrease the size of the tumour (called neoadjuvant therapy). This makes removal of the tumour easier and safer during surgery. Your consultant will be able to discuss the benefits of including proton beam therapy as part of your treatment plan.
When treatments, such as proton beam therapy are used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells that could not be removed by surgery, it is called adjuvant therapy. The decision as to whether to use a combination of treatments is heavily dependent on the stage and type of cancer that is present.