(Web) Extra: Read All About Proton Beam Therapy

Commenting on readers' comments about the high-tech radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

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After writing an article last September about prostate cancer treatment options, I received a flood of mail chastising me for not mentioning proton beam therapy. I noted in a subsequent blog entry that, as a result of that feedback from readers, I decided to take a second look at proton beam therapy. The resulting magazine piece was published Wednesday on the U.S. News website and will appear in print on Monday. Let me know what you think of it.

For that article, I expanded my scope beyond prostate cancer to other cancers and also looked at the expansion of proton centers. It's a fascinating and complex topic, and one that I expect we'll be hearing a lot more about in the future. In the meantime, I've excerpted and responded to six of the comments I got on my earlier blog post. Here they are, in no particular order:

Eric of Washington State on Loma Linda

I was treated with non-surgical proton therapy at Loma Linda California in 2004. I went hiking, golfing or other tourist activities after my daily, no pain treatments. Some days I just worked out in their excellent gym and pool, at no extra charge, all part of the proton package. Their goal, which I found that the staff has bought into is to treat the "whole man" and to support the patient with great care and concern for the patients experiences by suggesting sights and activities.

Eric, you are hardly the only one who seems to have had quite a positive experience at Loma Linda. Many readers reported—gushed even—about the excellent medical outcomes and care they received there. That's not to say, however, that I didn't receive a handful of comments praising the services of the other centers as well. And, perhaps more importantly, it's not to say that I didn't also receive input from the occasional Loma Linda proton patient who did experience side effects. One of those patients suggested that such patients may be more common than many think because men with medical problems tend not to be very vocal about them. (As if illustrating his point, he asked me to withhold his name.) In any case, there's no doubt Loma Linda is doing something right.