Alliance for Proton Therapy Access Emphasizes Power of Protons During National Sarcoma Awareness Month

Proton therapy advocates underscore value of proton therapy in treating cancer patients diagnosed with sarcoma

By Alliance for Proton Therapy Access | July 18, 2018

WASHINGTON– In recognition of National Sarcoma Awareness Month in July, the Alliance for Proton Therapy Access is underscoring the importance of patient access to proton radiation therapy, a clinically-effective treatment for patients diagnosed with sarcoma cancers.

Proton therapy is an FDA-cleared treatment that allows physicians to precisely control and conform the bulk of its cancer-fighting proton energy field on the cancerous cells, thereby minimizing extraneous radiation dose to healthy tissues, preserving organ function, and potentially reducing harmful side effects. This makes the treatment ideal for some sarcoma cancer patients, as sarcoma tumors are often located near sensitive tissues. One study shows that high-dose proton therapy controls more than half of spinal chordomas and chondrosarcomas and compares favorably with historical traditional (photon) radiation data.

“The successful treatment of my recurrent sarcoma cancer illustrates the power of proton therapy. I am living proof that proton therapy is a legitimate, safe, and effective cancer treatment,” said Cindy Lee, a cancer survivor and advocate. “I encourage others to join me in advocating for policies that ensure timely access to treatment for cancer patients in need of proton therapy.”

Despite the benefits of proton therapy for treating sarcoma and other cancers, patients too often face insurers’ delays or denials when physicians recommend proton therapy. The Alliance is working with cancer patients and family caregivers to call on insurance commissioners to adopt and enforce principles of the Cancer Patients’ Timely Treatment Bill of Rights and hold insurers accountable for providing fair, timely, and transparent access to cancer treatment.

“During National Sarcoma Awareness Month, we recognize the important role proton therapy has in treating sarcoma patients,” said Daniel Smith, Executive Director of the Alliance for Proton Therapy Access. “We are proud to provide cancer patients a platform to speak out about the value of proton therapy in cancer care, and the need for fair, timely, and transparent insurance payment decisions for all cancer patients.”

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 13,040 people will be diagnosed with new soft tissue sarcomas in 2018.