In this medical video learn how radiation can be painful, but now, a proton beam therapy promises better outcomes for cancer patients with fewer side effects.
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Jennifer Matthews: This is where you will find Ben Smith most days. It's a place where he finds peace. Ben Smith: I was born and raise on the water. Jennifer Matthews: But not even scenes like these could calm Smith's fears after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Ben Smith: You can't run away from yourself. When you first hear that you have gotten cancer, you think, okay, it's a death sentence. Jennifer Matthews: A death sentence that has played out in Smith's family many times. Ben Smith: My father died of cancer. My mother died of cancer. My brother died of cancer. Jennifer Matthews: Ben became one of the first people in the country to fight his cancer with proton beam therapy. Nancy Mendenhall: It opens up the door for all types of new treatment approaches and treatment intensity. Jennifer Matthews: A proton beam carries higher, more targeted doses of radiation straight into the tumor. Only the tumor gets intense treatment. No surrounding tissue is damaged, unlike standard radiation, where X-rays enter the body, exposing everything in its path to radiation. Nancy Mendenhall: I think we will see higher tumor control rates. I think we will see lower toxicity rates. I think more patients will survive. Jennifer Matthews: Patients experience few, if any side effects even when doctors use more powerful doses. Ben Smith: They are confident enough with the amount of radiation that they gave me that this cancer will not come back. Jennifer Matthews: And knowing that, Ben is once again at peace on the water. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.