My response to the article:
Proton Therapy technology and delivery techniques have advanced. The evidence to support the benefits of proton therapy in the treatment of many types of cancer amasses daily. The Israel radiation oncology committee’s reliance on an antiquated, politically-tempered 2009 report is merely a smoke-screen for indecision and inaction.
Radiation oncologists should know better than anyone that a more conformal higher dose of radiation to a tumor target accompanied by significantly less extraneous radiation to otherwise healthy tissue provides better cancer cure with less side-effects. It is surprising that Israel’s radiation oncology committee is turning a blind eye to this basic concept and continues to use the “expensive-equipment/high-treatment-cost” as another excuse for not supporting the initiative to bring a proton therapy center to Israel.
On multiple occasions, this committee has been presented with a plan to develop a national proton therapy institute in Israel, built on philanthropy, and not requiring a single shekel from Israel’s treasury. A core concept of this national initiative is a consortium to enable shared resources and participation of every radiation oncology department in the country in a collaborative environment for medical decision-making, clinical utilization and shared research. Furthermore, they ignore the initiative’s goal to provide proton therapy at a rate commensurate with the current reimbursement for complex radiotherapy offered in Israel and the plan for socially responsible programs for cancer awareness and prevention, public education and professional training.
It is disingenuous to argue that because only a few children per year are fortunate enough to be approved for expensive proton therapy abroad today, that nearly 1000 Israeli cancer patients per year would not benefit from this advanced treatment if it was available ba’Aretz tomorrow.