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Worldwide cancer cases are projected to increase by 50% by 20301 even as the overall cancer death rate declines. As the number of cancer survivors grows, the quality of life for survivors has become of paramount importance to the medical community. Because of this concern, proton therapy adoption is increasing as its efficacy has been proven for treatment of many types of cancers. Proton therapy not only reduces many of the side effects of cancer radiotherapy treatment, it also minimizes the long-term health risks associated with traditional therapies.
The Alliance for Proton Therapy Access, with support from Hitachi and other industry partners, recently launched a campaign to support physicians and patients seeking proton therapies for cancer treatment. The purpose of the Alliance is to improve insurance access for patients who are in need of proton therapy treatment while struggling to survive cancer.
To help ensure cancer patients seeking proton therapy receive fair and timely payment decisions from their health insurers, the Alliance for Proton Therapy Access launched an advocacy campaign, Tell Insurers: Fight Cancer, Not Me. Many patients face uneven, disparate insurance policies when they deserve access to the best available treatment recommended by their physicians.
The Alliance is comprised of concerned patients, physicians, clinicians, family caregivers and other stakeholders who are advocating for increased insurance coverage for proton therapy because it is one of the most precise forms of cancer treatment available today. The Alliance is encouraging all stakeholders to take part in the Alliance’s national advocacy campaign and amplify the voices of patients and physicians who are speaking out on behalf of the Alliance's mission.
Proton technologies were developed by Hitachi's advanced R&D teams who have earned a reputation for turning challenging collaboration projects and concepts into solutions that serve to advance social innovation. Those collaboration projects include leading research and care institutions around the world such as the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. For example, MD Anderson and Hitachi are collaborating on research for a unique randomized clinical trial comparing the outcomes and side-effects of Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT) versus Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) for the treatment of oropharyngeal cancer of the head and neck.
Some of the benefits of proton therapy for cancer survivors is reduction of the long-term toxicity risks of conventional radiotherapy. Because more than half of all cancer patients receive one or more courses of radiation therapy as part of their treatment, mitigating those risks is a top concern. Not all radiation therapies are alike and after careful evaluation physicians will prescribe proton therapy for several types cancers in specific clinical cases.
In addition, many leading physicians have noted the proven efficacy of proton therapy in many types of tumors, including brain, breast, esophageal, eye, gastrointestinal, gynecological, head and neck, liver, lung, lymphoma, prostate, soft tissue, spine, and many pediatric cancers. However, physicians and patients have faced challenges to accessing proton therapy treatment in a complex insurance market.
While the Alliance for Proton Therapy Access advocates for uniformity of access for critical, time-sensitive treatment, it also offers a forum for members of the cancer care community to raise awareness about proton therapy. This forum fosters education about proton therapy’s essential value and supports physicians and patients in accessing treatment when it has been recommended.
Hitachi Social Innovation Business supports partnership initiatives in healthcare such as the Alliance for Proton Therapy Access that have a positive social impact. This highlights the collaboration between Hitachi and its partners to co-create solutions that benefit society in the U.S.
Hitachi seeks to play a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of disease while driving social innovation in healthcare. While cancer has become a leading cause of death in developed countries, Hitachi believes that by advancing the science of cancer care and improving access to healthcare technologies, this will drive increased quality of life.
Learn more about Hitachi Proton Therapy.
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute