South Asia's first proton therapy centre opened in Chennai

South Asia's first proton therapy centre was launched in Chennai on Friday. Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, equipped with the path-breaking pencil beam technology, offers hope to cancer patients from India and abroad. The centre was inaugurated by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in the presence Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Apollo Hospitals Group chairman Dr Prathap C. Reddy.

Speaking on the occasion, Naidu said, ''Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and is a major cause of mortality in India. Proton therapy, which is a pioneering treatment, has marked a new milestone in the medical journey of our country.''

''It is pertinent to note that even a first world country like the UK launched a Proton Beam centre just last month, in December 2018, making our achievement in bringing this best and latest medical technology to India truly praiseworthy,'' said Reddy. ''It is with a sense of pride that we dedicate the Apollo Proton Cancer Centre to the health of the nation!'' he added.

Proton therapy, one of the most advanced forms of radiation treatment, attacks tumours with more precision, minimising damage to the healthy surrounding tissues. ''Proton is a charged particle. Positive energy. It gives away all the charge at one spot. There is no dose after that. It is very powerful that way,'' said T. Raja, senior consultant and head of Medical Oncology, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, Chennai.

Proton therapy is particularly effective for pediatric cancers and tumours affecting the brain, eye, colon, breast, gastrointestinal area, pelvis, and prostate and those close to the spinal cord, brain stem and other vital organs and re-radiation in cases of relapse. It is beneficial in cases where conventional treatment presents an unacceptable risk to the patient.

“Patients with breast cancer sometimes develop cardiac problems, if they undergo conventional treatment, as there is some dose to the heart. With the proton, you can treat breast cancer with no dose to the heart. For all pediatric cancers, proton therapy is now emerging as the standard of care. Up to 70 per cent of childhood cancers can be cured with conventional treatment. But around 63 per cent of them develop into chronic medical issues later, due to radiation and chemo. Proton therapy that spares the normal tissues can be a boon for such patients,'' said Raja.

Apollo Proton Cancer Centre located in Taramani has been built at the cost of Rs 1,300 crore.



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