Proton therapy for lung cancer
Treatment for lung cancer usually means surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Standard radiation treatments can work well. But they also expose nearby healthy tissue, such as your heart and esophagus, to radiation. This can raise your risk of major heart events later in life.
Proton therapy is an advanced treatment that delivers radiation to the exact size, shape and depth of your tumor. It allows your physician to treat your cancer while helping to protect other tissue and organs in the area.
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Tough on Your Tumor. Easier on Your Body.
With standard X-ray radiation therapy, the radiation dose is highest right where the X-rays enter your body. The X-rays keep giving off radiation as they go through your tumor and the tissue beyond. This can lead to side effects, like heart damage or trouble swallowing.
Until recently, patients and physicians accepted these side effects as a trade-off for treating the cancer. But with proton radiation therapy, we can reduce the risks. Proton therapy sends radiation exactly to your tumor. The goal is for less radiation to reach your healthy tissue nearby.
Proton therapy uses a unique feature of protons: They give off the most radiation right before they come to a stop. Then the radiation falls to zero. That’s how we target treatment to your cancer and no further.
If you have lung cancer, the radiation oncologists at our proton therapy facility can decide if proton therapy is right for you and tell you more about this option.
Proton Therapy Facts
- Radiation to the heart raises the risk of heart problems later in life by 7.4 percent per gray (a unit of radiation). Compared to X-ray radiation, proton therapy lowers the amount of radiation that reaches your heart and other tissue and organs nearby.
- Pencil-beam scanning (PBS) is a proton technology that allows for even more accuracy. PBS “paints” your tumor with a lot of very thin, very precise beams of protons. The beams are accurate down to millimeters.
- Proton therapy may be an option for you even if you’ve already had radiation for cancer. In fact, it may be your only option for getting more radiation treatment.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved proton therapy for clinical use in 1988. More than 200,000 people worldwide have had this form of treatment.