Proton Beam Therapy For Prostate Cancer
As of this writing, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that proton beam is more effective in treating prostate cancer than conventional radiation therapy; and there is no evidence of significant differences between proton therapy and radiation therapy in total serious adverse events. Readers may be interested in a recent article where the investigators point out that patients diagnosed with prostate cancer and living in areas where proton beam therapy is readily available are more likely to be treated with this new technology than with conventional radiation therapy. The cost of treating prostate cancer with proton beam therapy can exceed $50,000 per patient which is twice the cost of radiation therapy. Increasingly, we are seeing new technologies with staggering costs. In prostate cancer, for example, as we write this, proton centers are being built all over the country at a cost of up to $200 million.
Aaronson DS, Odisho AY, Hills N, Cress R, Carroll PR, Dudley RA, Cooperberg MR. Proton beam therapy and treatment for localized prostate cancer: if you build it, they will come. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Feb 13;172(3):280-3. PubMed PMID:22332166.