Proton therapy has unique attributes that reduce radiation exposure to normal, healthy organs.3,4 Protons can be controlled with greater precision than X-rays and conform to the shape of the tumor, meaning that more energy goes into destroying the cancer and less radiation is delivered to surrounding tissue.8 This is especially important in left-sided breast cancer, for which the treatment field may include critical organs such as the heart and the lungs. As the data to the left shows, patients with left-sided breast cancer are more likely than patients with right-sided breast cancer to develop cardiovascular diseases after receiving radiation treatment.
Additionally, in a dosimetric study of breast cancer where proton therapy was compared to traditional radiation,4,5 proton therapy significantly reduces radiation to normal tissues. Lung and heart doses were compared to 3-D conformal radiotherapy (3-D CRT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with considerable improvement.
These remarkable results demonstrate the value of proton therapy for women who are concerned about the potential side effects from radiation treatment and underscore the impact of proton therapy as one of the latest advancements in cancer treatment.
The image to the left shows the amount of radiation that the body receives during treatment for advanced breast cancer with proton therapy in comparison to X-ray or photon therapy treatment. Colors indicate areas of the body that received radiation. Compared to X-ray, proton therapy significantly reduced the dose of radiation to the heart and surrounding healthy tissue.