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LongStories_net119 karma

Medical physicist here - you probably received photon beam radiation. That’s the overwhelmingly most common type of radiation therapy.

Photon beam radiation is basically light. When it enters your body it delivers the most energy (damage) about 1.5cm past the surface and then delivers less and less energy as it passes through your body. We can superimpose these beams from different directions and actually modulate and shape them to focus massive amounts of energy on the tumor and largely avoid important organs. Although we minimize damage as much as possible, a big disadvantage of this technique is that the beams continue to travel through the body causing damage after they pass through the cancer. This can lead to undesirable side effects.

In contrast, proton therapy is essentially a particle that stops in the cancer and deposits nearly all of its energy in that location. Like photons it will do some damage traveling toward the cancer, but almost no damage whatsoever after it arrives at the cancer. This should theoretically greatly decrease unwanted side effects (or allow us to increase the dose substantially without additional side effects).

In reality, for most cancers we haven’t yet found that proton beam therapy is superior to photon therapy. For the OP it most likely is extremely advantageous because there are many important areas of the brain that can suffer radiation damage and lead to terrible consequences (unlike fat or muscle, for example).

We’ve been doing particle beam therapy for a very long time. It’s just been cost prohibitive to install and run/maintain the machine unless you are a large academic institution like MD Anderson. The price has come down a lot, but some newer sites are already starting to go bankrupt because there’s not yet clinical proof for most locations that it’s superior to photon beam therapy (although theoretically it’s much better).

Although proton therapy is extremely popular/trendy right now, there are a lot of researchers that believe it will only prove beneficial for cancers that require incredible precision (pedi’s, some brain, some spine, etc). Similarly, there are people that believe the opposite - that it will become standard of care for the majority of cancers (and, of course, there are those in between).

  • This is all greatly simplified and I wrote it using my phone so I apologize for any mistakes.

LongStories_net42 karma

After their most recent money raise they’re valued at over $1 billion.

LongStories_net19 karma

I don’t know why they’re being misleading.

Venture capitalists are paying.

And good for them. It’s brilliant to build a great humanitarian product while simultaneously building it into a massively valuable company.

LongStories_net12 karma

How do the airlines lose money when you've purchased a ticket and choose not to fly?

The only thing I can think of this that perhaps they could have sold the ticket to someone else for more money? This isn't very likely as the airlines use incredibly complicated algorithms to determine ticket prices.

LongStories_net9 karma

What if you get sick at point B? I could see them having a difficult time defending a practice where they fine customers who choose not to use a ticket.