New Hope For UK Cancer Patients.

Hi Peeps,

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There have been new developments afoot in the level of cancer treatments available to NHS patients in the UK.

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Proton Therapy is a form of cancer treatment that will burn the tumours away while doing less damage to the healthy surrounding tissues than the other forms of radiotherapy can cause.

This new form of treatment is achieved because it is now possible to fire precisely aimed beams of sub-atomic particles into the patient’s body to destroy tumours.

The density and speed of the beam is precise enough to be centred directly upon the tumour.

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Although there is one facility in the UK using proton therapy at the moment, it is used merely in the treatment of eye cancers.

The government now wishes to expand the range of cancer treatments other than this, without having to send patients abroad to countries such as America or France, where there has been more investment in the new proton beam technology.

This year alone the NHS will pay out a sum of around £40,000 for each patient that they send abroad to benefit from this treatment.

They plan on sending about 60 cancer patients.

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The government has already been looking at three sites which would be suitable for building the first therapy centres.

The cost of each one being estimated at about £80m.

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They are also hoping to have access to a fourth one in London, which is being planned by a private health firm called Proton Therapy Global.

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There is a strong belief that the therapy of choice for the future treatment of certain cancers will be proton therapy, and investment is following.

Many of the patients who receive radiotherapy will be suitable candidates, especially in the case of children, and their being able to reduce the chances of having their growth damaged, and possible cancers developing later in life, after having x-ray treatments in childhood.

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This news, of the proton treatment centres being built and accessible to NHS patients, is wonderful as there are said to be ‘minimal to no side effects’, in contrast to the standard radiation therapy which is often not so easily tolerated by the body.

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Proton therapy was to be found only in physics research labs until about 1990.

There are some real geniuses out there.

How science moves on!

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J.

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The proton beams are created by stripping hydrogen atoms of their electrons.

They are then  focused into a beam by the use of very powerful magnets

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