Jim here; I’m going to focus on “why Protons?” using my friend and fellow “Proton” recipient Bob Marckini’s “Mythbuster” series of articles on the ten myths about proton therapy. His team will debunk these myths, one at a time, with facts and reputable, published studies. I will try to include any part of Bob’s effort in future 2013 Proton reports on this website.
“Isn’t it interesting the way information can be ‘spun’ by those with an agenda, to make a point that fits their cause? One of the best examples of this are the political debates and subsequent analyses on network and cable television. They even have ‘spin rooms’ where pundits from each side get together and take snippets of the debate (often out of context) to make their candidate look good and the other guy look bad.”
Here’s another example of spinning the data: the number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 120,000, or 0.171 per physician. The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80 million and, according to the FBI, the number of accidental gun deaths per year is 1,500. So, the number of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.0000188. Ridiculous? Absolutely. But, this is no less ridiculous than some of the claims, attacks, and distortions being directed at proton therapy. Early this year a terribly flawed study from the University of North Carolina, looking backwards, using Medicare billing codes to identify what they thought were side effects, concluded that proton therapy for prostate cancer is no better than IMRT, and proton produces more rectal side effects. All the other prospective, scientific, peer-reviewed studies, which reached different conclusions, were ignored. Nevertheless, the media loved it and ran with it. Clearly there was another “agenda” at work here.
Our group consists of more than half the men (still alive) who have had proton therapy for prostate cancer. We have members representing every proton center in the U.S. and three overseas. Our 2009 survey of BOB membership showed conclusively that prostate cancer cure rates were at least as good as the best alternatives and quality of life after treatment far superior by every measure. And the facts speak for themselves. Stay tuned.
More to follow – Thank you for reading.