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Ashya King's parents were right: proton therapy is safer
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Proton therapy - the less invasive form of radiotherapy that Ashya King's parents wanted - is safer, less expensive and just as effective, a new study has found

Proton therapy - the less invasive form of radiotherapy that Ashya King's parents wanted - is safer, less expensive and just as effective, a new study has found.

Proton therapy isn't generally available in the UK yet, and so Ashya's parents absconded with him to Prague to have the therapy for his brain tumour.

Doctors disagreed that proton therapy offered any more benefits over standard radiotherapy, but a new study suggests the King's had a point.

Researchers from Texas University's MD Anderson Proton Therapy Centre have compared proton therapy against standard radiotherapy as a treatment for early-stage breast cancer.

Instead of irradiating the whole breast, proton therapy targets in on the immediate area of the cancer. The rest of the breast, the lungs and heart are not irradiated as happens with standard radiotherapy, the researchers say.

As a result, there are few side effects with proton therapy, and it appears to be just as effective.

And the researchers dispel another myth: the costs of proton are no greater than for standard radiotherapy, especially when shorter treatment times and lower toxicity are also taken into account.

(Source: Proceedings of the North America meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group, October 31, 2014)


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