So, as usual the internet doesn’t know what the fuck it’s talking about.
Every now and then there comes to the attention of the media a new ‘wonder drug’; something that the media (and therefore the general public) don’t really understand, but they’re damn sure it’s better than what was previously offered, and is therefore basically the next best thing to a cure for cancer.
When my mum had cancer, it was Herceptin - a chemotherapy that dramatically improved the life expectancy of women with a specific kind of breast cancer, but of course got misreported and misunderstand and so had patients with every other type of breast cancer believing they were being denied it (when it reality it just would have been worthless).
It helps to remember that Cancer is not a single disease; it’s many – there’s no single therapy, there’s no single treatment. Even each ‘type’ of cancer is in fact several different diseases, all often with completely different outcomes & treatment options.
That’s a big part of why we don’t have ‘a cure for cancer’: there won’t ever be a cure. There might one day be many cures.
Which brings us to Proton Beam Therapy.
There’s a young boy whose parents – to cut a long story short – want him to receive proton beam therapy for his brain tumour. The oncologists in question initially prescribed standard radiation therapy.
Proton Beam Therapy is a cutting edge form of radiotherapy with – potentially – fewer side effects. It is also spectacularly expensive.
As you might expect, the internet has jumped all over this - why wouldn’t the doctors prescribe the best therapy? Are they just cutting corners?
But the difference between the two therapies isn’t ‘efficacy’.
I’ll reiterate: Proton Beam Therapy & Radiotherapy are equally effective at treating the brain tumour itself.