Spain joins the global race to adopt proton bean therapy


The article says that the first centre is due to open in the last quarter of this year, and the second one in March 2020.

Meanwhile, it says a scientific society has just issued guidelines to "fill a void" in the use of proton therapy in Spain, and a small group of independent doctors has created a second-opinion network to raise awareness about an option that they say patients are rarely told about because of hospitals’ own business interests.

The article says that, by the latest count, there are more than 20 proton treatment centers in Europe and 27 in the United States, with many more in the pipeline. It claims some industry sources say the current global figure of around 60 could double in the next five years.

Quirónsalud, Spain’s largest hospital group, is building the country’s first proton therapy center in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid) at a cost of around €40 million. Clínica Universitaria de Navarra (CUN), the hospital of Spain’s University of Navarra, is opening another center in Madrid after investing a similar amount of money and shipping in Hitachi equipment from Japan. While the upfront costs are high, they are still significantly lower than the approximately €200 million that would have been required just a few years ago.

The article states that there are no reliable figures on how many Spanish patients are going abroad for treatment, either privately or through the public health system. In Spain, powers over healthcare are devolved to the regions, which are in charge of decisions regarding treatment and cost coverage. A Health Ministry spokeswoman said that public healthcare patients who are approved for proton treatment are being sent to nearby countries such as France.



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