Innovative Method of Cancer Treatment in Thessaloniki
More than 100,000 cancer patients worldwide have been fully cured with the use of technology of proton and light ion accelerators, a relatively new and radical innovative method of cancer treatment. The use of technology of proton and light ion accelerators is a technique that is indicated for treating approximately 20% of all cancers and has spectacular results in cases of prostate cancer, a type of cancer treated within 5 days and the patient doesn’t lose his sexual ability.
Cancer treatment with this method, is already applied in Germany, Italy, France, Czech Republic, USA and Japan and a medical facility function towards that treatment has been approved a few months now for Thessaloniki, Greece, but in order for one to apply an investment of from 50 to 200 million euros would be required depending on size of the facility, according to the Director of development and Promotion of CERN-HERMES Alexander Kokolakis, who since 2012 promotes the idea of creating a centre of excellence for research, diagnosing and treating cancer with protons in Crete.
“The statistics of success of treatment with technology of proton and light ion accelerators are very impressive. This treatment is technologically the most modern and the most effective method of medical radiotherapy, it is developed and evolved with the help of accelerators used in basic research in physics. Although I promote the creation of a Centre for diagnosing and treating cancer with protons in Crete, the decision for the approval of treatment with protons from the ionizing and ionizing radiation Committee of the Ministry of health, which was received after the submission of a dossier by me, relates to the whole territory and therefore could create such a Centre anywhere in Greece since an investor can be found, and especially Thessaloniki” stated Mr. Kokolakis.
In his presentation at the 3rd International Medical Olympiad held in Thessaloniki by Mr Kokolakis citing figures made available by the Particle Therapy Cooperative Group – PTCOG stated that by 2012 more than 100,000 patient had been cured worldwide with protons and that today 25 cancer treatment centers are open or in a number of stages of construction, using Proton accelerators.. According to data presented recently by the Italian Professor and Scientific Director of the European Oncology Institute Roberto Orecchia, in decades to come, one out of 16 men will get ill with prostate cancer.
Proton therapy is able to treat prostate cancer in 5 days instead of 8 weeks with conventional radiotherapy, while the success rate is very large and the side effects of treatment are minimal to nil. This new smart radiotherapy promises today (that is, if the diagnosis is early) full recovery in 95% of the cases.
In addition, it achieves the prevention of surgery, no pain and, as far as side effects go, these are restricted to a minimum. For example, a common side effect is the loss of the sexual ability of patients at a rate of 66%, while with the new method of radiotherapy applied by Professor Orecchia, patients retain their sexual ability. Based on data of 2008, there are 2,300,000 new cancer cases each year in the European Union. In Western industrialized nations approximately 45000 new cancers appear per 10 million inhabitants.
“A 20% of cancer patients are advised by specialists to undertake treatment with protons,” said Mr. Kokolakis in his presentation. The advantages of treatment of cancer with protons is that;
- it can target tumors located in great depths and on difficult anatomical parts (e.g. upper chest tumors and skull).
- it completely destroys the genetic material (DNA) of cancerous cells and therefore minimize the recurrence of cancer.
- it causes little damage to adjacent healthy tissues, unlike photon beams (x-rays and gamma-rays)
- also the risk of secondary cancers due to irradiation by protons is far smaller compared with the risk in conventional radiotherapy. For this reason the proton therapy is primarily used in pediatric cases of patients with cancer.
- the treatment time is much smaller compared with the respective time of conventional treatment.
Mr. Kokolakis said that the creation of a center for cancer treatment using proton accelerator in Thessaloniki will contribute to the upgrading of radiation therapy as a method of treating cancer by preventing the movement of patients that are advised to undertake Proton Therapy abroad and that by developing innovative research for the cure of cancer the tertiary research and education will be linked with the promotion of patient care services and will attract competing research projects financed by European resources for Thessaloniki.
Furthermore, it is stressed that the creation of such a center in Thessaloniki can attract a large number of medical tourists on a yearly basis.