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Proton Therapy Fact Sheet

  • Proton therapy is the most technologically advanced method to deliver radiation treatment to cancerous tumors available today.
  • Both x-rays and protons damage cancer cells but, unlike standard radiation therapy, proton therapy deposits the majority of the radiation dose directly into the tumor.
  • For this reason, proton therapy delivers less radiation to healthy tissues and organs resulting in fewer, less severe short and long-term side effects than standard radiation therapy.
  • The majority of cancer diagnoses including Brain & CNS, Breast, Esophageal, Head & Neck, Liver, Lung, Lymphomas, Ocular, Pediatric, Pancreatic, Prostate, Sarcomas, Skull & Axial Skeleton and many other cancers are candidates for proton therapy treatment.
  • Proton Therapy has significant benefits in pediatric cancers due to a high rate of curability, remaining lifespan, and the added cost of side effects over time from standard radiation therapy in developing tissues.
  • Research has demonstrated that proton therapy significantly reduces the risk of developing a secondary cancer from initial radiation treatments.
  • Proton therapy can be used in conjunction with other cancer treatment modalities such as chemotherapy and surgery.
  • Patients previously treated with radiation with a recurrence in the treated area potentially can be retreated with proton therapy.
  • Proton therapy treatments are non-invasive and painless and most patients retain a high quality of life during and after treatments.
  • Treatments are delivered on an outpatient basis and range from 15 – 45 minutes in length, 5 days a week, for 4-8 weeks depending on the specific cancer diagnosis.
  • Over 800 clinical studies have been published on proton therapy with the number of studies expanding every year.
  • Over 170,000 patients have been treated with proton therapy worldwide with over 75,000 of those in the United States.
  • The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved proton therapy for treatment of cancer in 1988.
  • The first proton therapy treatments for cancer were delivered in 1954.