Advantages of Proton Therapy Over Standard X-ray Radiation
Proton therapy typically results in less exposure to normal brain tissue, eyes, and the optic nerve compared to standard X-ray radiation. This is because protons precisely target a tumor without continuing past it the way X-rays do. Less healthy brain tissue is irradiated with proton therapy than with X-ray/intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).1,2 As a result, patients may experience fewer side effects and have a lower likelihood of secondary tumors in the future compared with other radiation treatments.3-4
Although brain tumors can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and standard X-ray radiation, proton therapy can be particularly beneficial for brain cancer patients. Since the brain is in close proximity to many critical organs, structures, and other parts of the nervous system, the ability of protons to precisely target the tumor makes proton therapy an effective treatment option for many brain tumors.
In the graphic to the left, you see that with proton therapy, the healthy tissue around the tumor and the critical organs have been spared any additional radiation. Some of the normal brain tissue receives 50 percent less radiation than with traditional X-rays.