Have you ever heard of proton therapy? While it might sound more like an experiment in physics, it’s actually an emerging arena of cancer treatment that could potentially change the landscape of radiation oncology. Mission Search has been on the horizon of this new venture, helping innovative cancer centers and healthcare organizations connect with the brightest, emerging talents in the niche specialty.
We sat down with Mr. James Lanni, Executive Recruiter specializing in Radiation Oncology, to discuss the trends and insights that we’ve noted. Read below to learn about this exciting future for cancer treatment!
How Does Proton Therapy Work?
Proton therapy is a subspeciality of radiation oncology, and it has the same purpose as radiation therapy but does it in a different way. When radiation is delivered to a tumor, the goal is to deposit as much of that radiation as possible into the tumor alone, and leaving the surrounding healthy tissues undisturbed.
“With proton therapy, we can calibrate the dosage and apply it to “hard to reach” tumors, or those next to highly sensitive areas with less chance of impacting healthy surrounding tissues,” explains Mr. Lanni.
This kind of specificity simply isn’t possible with conventional radiation, chemotherapy, or x-rays. Proton therapy treatment delivers a very precise dose of radiation that helps to shrink the tumor.
What are the Benefits of Proton Therapy?
The results we’ve seen indicate that it’s a favorable option for treating some kinds of cancers, and also causing fewer side effects. We’ve heard of success with pediatric cancers, where childrens’ bodies are still growing, for example.
While proton therapy isn’t always appropriate for every type or form of cancer, it may provide significant benefits for patients with tumors next to sensitive, critical structures too. These can include the spinal cord, optic nerves, the heart, lung, or other delicate and sensitive structures and organs.
The Future of Proton Therapy
For healthcare institutions wanting to invest in this state-of-the-art treatment, a significant financial investment is required. The machinery required can also occupy a significant amount of floor space, sometimes entire rooms.
“Insurance is an issue for many patients as well because Medicaid is not really covering proton therapy,” Mr. Lanni explains. “However, providing this specialized form of cancer treatment will surely enhance the quality and innovation of the institution when it truly is on the rise as a cutting-edge, world-class treatment for cancer.”
For radiation oncologists, upcoming or seasoned professionals can benefit from becoming the first experts in this highly specialized field.
“Proton therapy certainly will appeal to the research-minded radiation oncologist,” says Mr. Lanni. “Those interested in leading research, publishing papers, and making a name for themselves in this industry will find that it is a rich opportunity to do so right now.”
At Mission Search, our goal is to provide solutions for both healthcare providers as well as professional opportunities for highly-qualified medical professionals in the fight against cancer. To learn more about proton therapy as a growing trend in radiation oncology, contact a member of the Mission Search team today.