Proton Therapy Helps Eye Cancer Patients Beat the Disease and Retain Vision

British researchers say people suffering from eye cancer might avoid visual handicaps and spread of the disease by receiving proton beam radiation therapy. The study, conducted on 349 patients at the Liverpool Ocular Oncology Center , was designed to determine visual acuity, local tumor control, ocular retention and overall survival after patients received proton beam radiation therapy for melanoma affecting their eyes. The patients chosen were deemed unsuitable for other forms of treatment because of their tumor size and location, with 75 percent having tumors extending within three centimeters of the optic disk, which, if affected, can cause blindness. The large tumors also posed an increased risk of the tumor returning, retinal detachment and glaucoma.

Of the 346 patients who had the ability to count fingers before treatment, 79.1 percent retained that ability at the five-year mark. Before treatment, 212 patients had 20/40 vision, 44.8 percent retained that visual acuity five years following proton therapy. Overall survival rates based on the cancer spreading to other parts of the body showed 90 percent of the patients able to stave off further disease after five years. The study appears in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology.


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