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Cancers that can be treated with proton therapy

Breast Cancer Treatment with Proton Therapy

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor arising from the tissues of the breast. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, surpassing only lung cancer.


Breast cancer tumor usually occurs in the lobules and ducts of the breast used in the production and delivery of breast milk. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, apart from skin cancer. Although the disease is rare among men, men are also susceptible to breast cancer.

As with other cancers, the best possible outcomes for breast cancer treatment are achieved through early breast cancer care. Proton therapy has unique properties that reduce radiation exposure to normal, healthy organs. (4,5)  This is especially important in left-sided breast cancer because the cancer is close to critical organs such as the heart and lungs.

  • 88% less radiation dose to the heart for left breast cancer. 12

  • To the lung  44% reduction in clinical radiation doses . 2

  • 90% of partial breast irradiation cases result in good to excellent cosmetic results at 5 years. 3

  • Well tolerated -   Less than 4% serious adverse events (grade 3) in locally advanced breast cancer. 2

Signs / Symptoms

The symptoms of breast cancer can vary. Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain and may have no symptoms. Some breast cancers never cause symptoms or other signs of a problem. The most common symptoms include:

  • A lump or mass in or near the breast

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit

  • Change in breast size, shape, skin texture or color

  • skin redness

  • Nipple discharge, erosion, inversion or tenderness

  • Pitting or wrinkling

  • Scale in contact


Doctors recommend a variety of tests and procedures to diagnose breast cancer. They may recommend one of the following procedures:


  1. Chest examination:  A doctor will examine both breasts to feel for any lumps or abnormalities.

  2. Mammogram:  An X-ray of the breast is used to identify a breast mass.

  3. Chest ultrasound: Sound waves are used to produce images of structures deep within the body. Chest ultrasounds show whether the lump is solid or fluid-filled.

  4. Breast biopsy:  A biopsy is used to remove a sample of breast cells to determine if the cells are cancerous.

  5. Chest MRI:  Magnetic and radio waves are used to produce images of the breast. An MRI helps to better define a breast mass or evaluate an abnormal change on a mammogram.

  6. Sentinel lymph node biopsy: A procedure in which the sentinel lymph node   is removed and examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present. It is used to see if the cancer has spread to areas outside the breast.



Proton therapy shows remarkable promise and advantages over conventional therapy in the treatment of breast cancer. Proton therapy is a type of radiation that stops at a very specific point in the targeted tissue; traditional radiation continues beyond the tumor. In breast cancer, this means there is, on average, no radiation to the heart and 50% less radiation to the lungs compared to conventional radiation.


Proton therapy is extremely sensitive and therefore more effective at targeting cancerous cells without damaging the surrounding breast tissue. Proton therapy is not a substitute for lumpectomy. Rather, it is used as an alternative to conventional radiation therapy. After surgery, breast cancer patient can receive proton therapy for 2-6 weeks. 


Proton therapy provides a number of other compelling benefits:

  • Recent research links increased risk of heart disease with left-sided X-ray treatments(6)

  • The treatment is non-invasive and painless.

  • Proton therapy is effective in treating early-stage breast cancer(7)

  • Treatment offers faster recovery times with minimal side effects

  • Causes less cosmetic damage compared to conventional radiation(3)

  • More precise than other types of radiation

  • Treatment is provided in an outpatient setting

  • Proton radiation has little or no effect on the patient's energy level.

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