Prostate Cancer Patients Report Quality of Life Benefits of Proton Therapy in New Survey

Feb 13, 2013, 10:00 ET from National Association for Proton Therapy

Prostate Cancer Report to be released at National Proton Conference in Washington, DC  

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ninety-nine percent of proton therapy patients believe they made the best treatment decision for themselves, according to a new data analysis of outcomes and satisfaction of prostate cancer patients. The survey released today is the most comprehensive of its kind to capture health-related quality of life measures for proton therapy, an advanced form of cancer treatment.

The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) commissioned Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, LLC, an independent health economics and policy consulting firm to investigate outcomes and patient satisfaction associated with the use of proton therapy in treating prostate cancer. The Brotherhood of the Balloon, a group of about 6,400 men who received proton therapy, conducted the survey.

"What distinguishes this new report is that the data come from patients themselves," said Leonard Arzt, executive director of NAPT.

Close to 2,000 patients who were treated for prostate cancer with proton therapy from 1991 to 2010 completed the survey, which incorporated multiple patient-report instruments, including the standard for all prostate cancer reports, the Extended Cancer Index Composite (EPIC), and examined satisfaction with care, quality of life, emotional and physical health limitations; and urinary, sexual, bladder, and bowel functioning.

"What's also unique in this report is that men are reporting on their quality of life, including some very intimate details," Arzt, noted.  "The data represent the kind of patient-based outcomes analysis that is highly valued by clinicians and is needed to inform decisions about treatment options. Meaningful data like this have been missing in prior research on proton therapy. The study is highly unusual in that it includes results from approximately one-fifth of all men receiving proton therapy for their cancer treatment."

The study reaffirms the results seen from patients for the past two decades and supports the clinical evidence regarding the efficacy of proton therapy. In the study, "Prostate Cancer Patients Report on Benefits of Proton Therapy," patients report that proton therapy is a highly effective treatment for prostate cancer, as the targeted proton beams spare surrounding healthy tissue and minimize the typical side effects from standard photon beam radiation, including incontinence and impotence.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Approximately 98 percent of patients reported that they had recommended proton therapy to others.
  • Approximately 96 percent of patients were satisfied or extremely satisfied with proton therapy.
  • Ninety-two percent of patients reported that their quality of life was better or the same today than it was before their treatment, and only 8 percent stated that their quality of life was worse.
  • Ninety-two percent of respondents reported that physical health or emotional problems did not interfere, or interfered very little with their social activities.
  • Those that completed proton therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer had similar urinary, bowel, and hormonal HRQOL [Health Related Quality of Life] measures compared to healthy individuals. Proton therapy patients did have lower sexual HRQOL measures compared to healthy individuals; however, this was mostly associated with those patients that received hormone therapy in addition to proton therapy. When looking at patients who received only proton therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer (did not receive hormone or photon therapy), proton therapy patients reported lower HRQOL measures than healthy individuals in only one HRQOL category ("Sexual Bother" which refers to the degree of annoyance associated with sexual symptoms).

While prostate cancer remains one of the many uses for proton therapy, the pinpoint accuracy of the proton beam also makes it a highly effective form of treatment for many other types of tumors including those found in the head, neck, lung and breast.

There are currently 10 operating proton centers in the U.S., several more are either under construction or in the development stage.

About the Survey
The survey was distributed by patient advocacy group Brotherhood of the Balloon (BoB) and analyzed by Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, LLC. The investigation is sponsored by the NAPT. Findings will be released at The National Proton Conference: Improving Cancer Outcomes with Proton Therapy ( on February 13, 2013. The event runs through February 14, 2013 at the Washington Marriott Metro Center and is co-sponsored by NAPT and the Proton Therapy Consortium.

About NAPT
The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) is a non-profit organization supported by proton center members and is the "Voice of the Proton Community." The NAPT promotes education and public awareness for the clinical benefits of proton beam radiation therapy. Founded in 1990, NAPT is an advocate for the advancement of proton therapy.

About The Brotherhood of the Balloon
The Brotherhood of the Balloon was founded in 2000 by Robert Marckini. The group consists of 6,400 men who received proton therapy, or proton therapy in combination with other therapies, for prostate cancer. Members are from all 50 US states and 33 countries. They represent all 10 U.S. proton centers as well as three proton centers in Europe and Asia.

About Dobson | DaVanzo & Associates, LLC
Dobson | DaVanzo & Associates, LLC is a health economics and policy consulting firm based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The analytic work of our principals has influenced the design of demonstrations and many public policy decisions, and appears in numerous instances in legislation and regulation. Their analyses make use of a variety of public and private-sector data sources to conduct rigorous and objective research.

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SOURCE National Association for Proton Therapy