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Proton therapy cost in India: better than traditional radiation?

Learn about proton therapy cost in India, including treatments and related expenses, in this article.

By Priyanka Dutta Deb

20th Apr '22

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Proton therapy in India is gaining popularity for treating various tumors, including head, neck, and pediatric cancers. It's also expanding to address spinal, breast, sarcoma, brain, and prostate cancers, as well as non-cancerous tumors. This advanced therapy can be combined with surgery and chemotherapy. Remarkably, the cost of proton cancer treatment in India is just a third of what US hospitals charge. As of 2019, India is the 16th country to offer affordable proton therapy. Proton therapy, using positively charged particles, is an innovative radiation treatment that gives hope to patients. In India, proton therapy starts at an affordable base package, with the complete course typically ranging from INR 25,00,000 to INR 30,00,000 (USD 33,000 to 39,000).

Proton therapy is extensively employed in India for the treatment of head and neck tumors, as well as pediatric cancers. Proton therapy is used to treat cancer and some non-cancerous tumors. It might be used with other treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy.

Are you in search of information about the various treatments that can be effectively cured with proton therapy, as well as their associated costs? Your search ends here! We have compiled all the necessary details on a single, comprehensive page to assist you in your quest. Keep reading to discover more.

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What does the average proton therapy cost in Indian cities?

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The average cost of proton therapy treatment in leading Indian cancer hospitals is approximately ₹25,00,000 ($32,700), although the actual expense may differ depending on various factors. This article covers those variables to help you plan and manage your expenses effectively.

These miscellaneous factors include:

  • These charges will all be exclusive of the aforementioned prices. 
  • The detailed costs of the additional factors are discussed below.

Note: Proton therapy is a relatively new and advancing field in India. Although there are a good number of hospitals offering proton cancer treatment, the prices and costs are still unavailable for all cities. Some Indian cities may not provide the treatment. Please keep these factors in mind before making your decision.

Let's explore some of the various diseases that can be effectively treated with proton therapy.

What are the different diseases that can be treated using proton therapy?

Proton therapy or high-energy proton beams can treat various cancerous and non-cancerous diseases. It has the potential to eliminate cancer cells and prevent second cancer in young men and women. 

The various benign tumors that can be treated are:

different diseases that can be treated using proton therapy

  • BENIGN BRAIN TUMOURS
It is a mass of cells that grows relatively and slowly in the brain.Also called non-cancerous tumors.The average cost of this treatment would be roughly ₹ 22, 00,000 i.e. ($28,000).
  • PITUITARY GLAND TUMOUR
  • A pituitary adenoma is a tumor that develops in the pituitary gland.
  • It is located near the brain and can affect hormonal levels of the body.
  • Also called Pituitary Adenoma
  • Symptoms like: feeling sick all the time, Mental or behavioral changes 

Estimate cost (₹ 19, 00,000 to 21, 00,000) i.e. ($25,000 to 27, 000) approximately.


 

The main types of pituitary gland tumors are as follows:

  1. Non-functional adenomas (null cell adenomas): These tumors are the most common type.
  2. Prolactin-producing tumors (prolactinomas): These benign tumors are also common.
  3. ACTH-producing tumors
  4. Growth hormone-producing tumors
  • ACOUSTIC NEUROMA

It is a tumor that develops -

  1. Balance 
  2. an auditory nerve in the brain
It is a part of a benign tumor that may originate from the region connecting the inner ear to the brain. It causes hearing loss.The average cost of this treatment may be ₹ 22,00,000 ($ 28,000)

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And the list doesn't end here. Proton therapy in India offers hope to patients battling a wide range of cancer types.

What types of cancers can be treated with proton therapy in India?

With the advent of proton cancer therapy, research shows various malignant tumors that can be treated using this treatment. There are records of many cancer treatments that are performed using proton radiation therapy and give positive results. 

types of cancers can be treated with proton therapy in India

Proton treatment is effective for tumors that have not spread and are located near vital organs, for example, cancers near the brain and spinal cord. It is also used to treat kids since it reduces the risk of damaging good, developing tissue. It can also be used to treat eye cancers such as retinoblastoma and orbital rhabdomyosarcoma.

These tumors may also be treated with proton therapy, like:

  • Lung cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Prostate cancer 
  • Spinal and pelvic sarcomas are types of cancer that occur in the soft tissue and the bone.
  • Non-cancerous brain tumors

Let's check ahead proton cancer treatment cost in India:

  • PROSTATE CANCER
It is cancer that starts in the gland cells of the seminal vesicles and is found in men
  • It is easily treatable in the early stages
  • Symptoms like: Weak or interrupted flow of urine

The estimated cost of proton therapy for prostate cancer is ₹ 28, 00,000 ($ 36,700)


 

  • BREAST CANCER

Breast cancer is the most commonly heard cancer diagnosed in women.


 

  • Many treatments are available for breast cancer and Proton therapy is the best therapy one of those.
  • It includes some of the symptoms like New lump in the breast or underarm, thickening or swelling of part of the breast.

The treatment cost of proton therapy for breast cancer is  ₹ 22, 00,000 to ₹ 25, 00,000 ($28, 000 to 33,000).


 

  • LUNG CANCER

Lung cancer is caused due to excessive smoking, active or passive pollution.


 

It includes symptoms like:

  1. Blood coughing
  2. Severe unsettling Chest Pain

The cost of proton therapy for lung cancer is ₹ 24, 40,000 ($ 32,000)


 

  • LIVER CANCER
  • It is a type of cancer that takes place in the liver.
  • It is a vital organ of the body.
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma is a type of liver cancer
  • It happens because of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C infection.
  • It happens because of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C infection.
  • It includes some symptoms like Losing weight without trying, Upper abdominal pain.
  • A 2019 study suggests that proton therapy for liver cancer can result in high tumor elimination rates and lower side effects.
The cost of proton therapy for liver cancer cost around  ₹ 1,90,000 ($2540)

Apart from that, some other types of cancer can be treated with proton radiation therapy. These include:

  • Stromal sarcoma
  • Fibroids
  • Uveal melanoma
  • Iris melanoma
  • choroidal haemangiomas
  • head and neck tumors

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However, the journey involves more than just the treatment itself – there are essential pre-treatment and post-treatment costs to account for.

What are the pre- & post-treatment costs for proton therapy in India?

Any surgical or cancer treatment will require you to prepare yourself for the treatment. It may be in the form of diagnostic tests, localization or positioning of the tumor or area of surgery etc. Similarly, in proton radiation therapy, there are certain initial stages you’ll need to go through to prep you for the treatment. 

These are called pre-operative measures and those costs will also be part of your bill. They are:

Pre-operative tests

Cost in India (INR)

Doctor’s consultation fee₹ 1100-1500/session
Treatment specialist consultation fee  ₹ 1200-2000
MRI₹ 3000 – 10, 000
CT-scan  ₹ 1500 – 3000
X-rays (subjective) ₹ 250 - 5000

Post-operative measures include:

  • Special Proton Therapy Room: charged as per the treatment center.
  • Normal room rent: ₹ 35,000 – 60, 000 / day.
  • Medications: no specific medications are required.
  • Follow-ups: no follow-ups are required; check for side effects.

Proton beam therapy in India is relatively hassle-free, as you need not stay at the hospital post-treatment. The patient can leave as soon as the treatment is completed, and it is suggested to watch out for any side effects.

With all these expenses combined, you get a lower price for proton radiation therapy for cancer treatment in India. These prices are affordable, yet are on the edge while competing with other countries.

But what exactly determines the cost of proton therapy in India? Let's explore the key factors.

What are the factors affecting the cost of proton therapy in India?

Proton therapy is a promising and advanced form of cancer treatment available in India. However, the cost of proton therapy can vary significantly based on several key factors. Understanding these factors is crucial for patients and their families considering this innovative treatment option. Here, we'll explore the elements that influence the cost of proton therapy in India.

  • Limited availability throughout the country
  • Limited cancer centers that provide this treatment
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Choice of hospital
  • Choice of specialist
  • Experience and practice
  • Treatment cost
  • Equipment prices
  • Patient throughput - time per patient and demand for treatment
  • Treatment outcome
  • Proton therapy Side effects

But where in India can you find these advanced proton therapy centers?

What are the locations of proton therapy centers in India?

The Proton Treatment Centre at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai is the first proton cancer centre in Southeast Asia to identify priority research and development areas and conduct basic and applied research. 

Apollo Hospitals in Chennai
Address: 4/661, Dr Vikram Sarabai Instronic Estate 7th St, Dr. Vasi Estate, Phase II, Tharamani, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600096

The proton therapy machine costs Rs 550 crore, which signifies the therapy is expensive. The proton therapy cost in Apollo Chennai is between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 30 lakh for the entire course. At present, treatment with proton therapy is available at only one center in Chennai. 

 

According to a journal, we can expect proton therapy to start at Tata Memorial Centre’s (TMC) ACTREC Kharghar centre in the next few months. It will make India one of the few countries worldwide to provide this sophisticated cancer therapy. As per the source, the cost of proton therapy treatment in the United States ranges from Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore. However, treatment at ACTREC Kharghar would be subsidized, with the low socio-economic segment of the population potentially receiving free treatment. The proton beam therapy machine is nearly ready, and the TMC anticipates treating roughly 800 patients each year. Also, half of them will be covered by the cost of proton therapy at Tata Memorial, free of charge.

But what if you don't have insurance? Let's delve into the costs of proton therapy in India for those without coverage.

How much does proton therapy cost without insurance in India?

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With insurance, in major Indian cancer hospitals across several cities, the proton therapy treatment costs around Rs. 25,00,000 ($32,700).
Without insurance, the proton beam treatment cost can range to $120,000.
However, actual expenses may vary based on several factors, including the tumor's size and location and the length of therapy.

But does proton therapy truly deliver results in India? Let's explore its success rate. 

What is the success rate of proton therapy in India?

success rate of proton therapy in India

Though proton radiation therapy in India is a new type of treatment well researched and performed by well-trained and equipped doctors in India. Around 46% of patients who underwent proton therapy were declared cancer-free. Moreover, 58% of those people are still alive. It is performed by highly qualified radiation therapists who are well trained in using the proton beam. The hospitals are recognized and accredited by JCI and are world-renowned cancer treatment centres. These places provide the best quality care and international-standard state-of-the-art equipment and machinery are used.

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Traditional or proton therapy? The answer may surprise you, so let's dive into the comparison and see which comes out on top.

Is proton therapy a better alternative to traditional radiation therapy?

New studies are revealing that Proton radiation therapy for cancer treatment may be a slightly safer option for patients in the long run. X-rays, or photon beams, are delivered to the tumor and beyond in traditional radiation. This can damage or kill the surrounding healthy tissues and have grim consequences.

proton therapy a better alternative to traditional radiation therapy

Proton treatment, on the other hand, uses a stream of protons that will stop at the tumor, causing minimal damage to neighboring healthy cells. The side effects of proton therapy are limited compared to traditional radiation therapy. Common side effects include fatigue, redness in the region, sore body and temporary hair loss.

Although some experts believe proton therapy is safer than regular radiation, evidence comparing the two therapies is limited and still ongoing.

Side effects are a common concern – let's discuss the potential impact of proton therapy on patients.

Does proton therapy have side effects?

proton therapy side effects

Yes, proton therapy can have side effects. These may vary depending on the type of cancer being treated and the patient's characteristics.

  • It is a painless operation. 
  • After that, you may feel exhausted.
  • You may also face skin diseases, including:

 -Redness

 -Inflammation

 -Edema

 -Dryness

 -Blistering

-Skin peeling off of skin

There can be other side effects that can occur, especially if you are also undergoing chemotherapy. The kinds of healthy tissue around the tumor, as well as the location of the body being treated, determine the adverse effects of proton therapy. For your safety, you need to inquire with your doctor about the most dangerous side effects.

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References:

https://www.cancer.net/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/

https://www.cancer.gov/

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