Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Last Modified: May 8, 2013

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Question

Is proton radiation used for lung cancer treatment? Will my insurance pay for it?

Answer

Charles B. Simone, II, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Penn Medicine, responds:

Proton radiation therapy is a relatively newly utilized type of radiation therapy that has the potential to decrease the radiation dose to normal tissues that are next to the tumor. Currently, there are only 10 centers in the United States that offer proton radiation therapy. Because the tumor continuously moves as a patient breathes during radiation therapy, tumor movement must be accounted for when treating with any kind of radiation therapy. With proton radiation therapy, however, accounting for this movement is technically more difficult. Several proton centers have begun to treat lung cancer with proton therapy, and this can allow for lower doses of irradiation to normal tissues, with potentially fewer side effects, and better local control. Proton therapy may also more safely allow radiation therapy to be combined with chemotherapy and/or surgery for patients who would most benefit from multi-modality therapy. Not all insurances cover proton therapy, but many do if it is shown in your specific case to deliver a better radiation plan than conventional radiation therapy. Please contact your insurance company or ask your healthcare provider for more details on your insurance coverage.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Lung Cancer transcript.


News
ASTRO: Combination Therapy Beneficial in Prostate Cancer

Nov 25, 2014 - Long-term survival may be increased in medium-risk prostate cancer patients who receive short-term androgen deprivation therapy before and during radiation treatment compared with men who receive radiation alone. In addition, proton beam therapy may be associated with a decreased risk of disease recurrence after 10 years and has minimal side effects after one year, according to research presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Nov. 1 to 5 in Chicago.



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