Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment. It utilizes protons instead of X-rays to accurately treat cancer. A proton is a positively charged particle. When the protons are at high energy, they are able to combat cancer cells.
How does proton therapy work?
For protons to be effective against cancer, they need to be at high energy. A machine called a cyclotron helps the protons achieve this high energy. Then, the protons are able to travel to a specific depth in the body where they can deposit the specified radiation dose in the tumor.
How does proton therapy compare to traditional treatment?
Proton therapy is accurate and precise in depositing the radiation dose into the tumor. Due to the high level of precision, there is less damage to healthy tissues in comparison to traditional treatment. As a result, proton therapy patients experience fewer side effects.
Proton therapy is useful in treating:
- Abdominal/pelvic tumors
- Benign lesions
- Brain and skull base tumors
- Breast cancer
- Head and neck cancers
- Lung and thoracic cancers
- Ocular/orbital and eye tumors
- Prostate cancer
- Soft tissue tumor/sarcomas
- Pediatric cancers
Proton therapy can treat many types of cancers/tumors in children. In fact, it may be a preferable option in the case of a tumor being close to an organ or structure. The precision and high energy of proton therapy allows for less damage to healthy tissue and less side effects compared to traditional treatment.
When Will Proton Therapy be Available?
The Proton Therapy Center is currently under construction in Royal Oak, MI. The first patients are expected to undergo treatment in Spring 2017.