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What is Proton Therapy

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Features of Proton Therapy

Proton therapy is an advanced radiation delivery system that precisely targets tumors, significantly reducing damage to healthy tissue and organs.


There are three ways to effectively treat cancer: 

  1. chemotherapy 

  2. Surgical treatment

  3. Radiation Therapy 


There are several different subtypes under the radiation therapy umbrella. Proton therapy is one of these subtypes. Its use is increasing rapidly by oncologists and hospitals all over the world due to its many benefits.   

Standard radiation therapy has emerged and evolved over the years. It is an effective treatment for many types of cancer. But radiation therapy has a side effect. The energy of primary photons and secondary electrons is released along the entire path of the beam, the radiation affecting healthy tissues both before and beyond the targeted tumor. Such an "output dose" of radiation damages normal cells and can lead to health problems later on.

The advantage of proton therapy is that the protons release most of their energy exactly at the localization site of a cancerous tumor. Protons slow down as they move through the body, interacting with electrons and releasing maximum radiation at the end of the path. The place where the greatest energy release occurs is called "Bragg Peak". The doctor can calculate the Bragg peak in the patient's body to coincide with the center of the cancerous tumor. The action of protons fully corresponds to the shape and depth of the neoplasm, while at the same time it does not affect healthy tissues and organs.

We can collect the features that distinguish proton therapy from similar ones under the following headings:


In proton therapy,  tumor is scanned one by one and layer by layer using a proton beam. The beam is directed and delivered with such precision that healthy tissues and organs essentially do not receive a dose of radiation. This results in fewer side effects and better quality of life for patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Higher Dose in Tumor

With proton therapy, the dose in the tumor area can be increased without equally increasing the dose in the surrounding tissue. This is particularly useful for tumors that have a better chance of being cured by administering a higher dose of radiation, but for which classical radiotherapy is impossible because the risk of serious side effects (such as blindness) is too great.

Reduced Side Effect

With proton therapy, healthy tissues and organs receive significantly less radiation than with conventional radiation therapy. This results in fewer side effects and better quality of life for patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Lower Dose in Healthy Tissue

Proton beams enter the body and deposit most of their energy directly into the tumor. Radiation oncologists can focus the energy of the proton beam within a tumor and deliver higher doses to the tumor site than is possible with conventional radiation therapy. This leads to more precise treatment with less risk of side effects. The radiation dose in healthy tissue is reduced while the dose in the tumor remains constant. This can result in fewer (late) side effects as a result of radiation and a reduced risk of developing a new cancer (a secondary tumor) after a few years.

Various Tumors Healed With Proton Therapy

Because proton beams can be directed and delivered with such precision, proton therapy is ideal for tumors of irregular shape or close to critical organs and structures.

Lower Incidence of Secondary Tumors

With proton therapy, the risk of secondary radiation-induced  tumor formation is significantly reduced, as healthy tissues and organs receive almost no radiation dose.

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