How Does Proton Therapy Compare to Standard Radiation?
Proton therapy and standard X-ray therapy both kill cancer cells by preventing them from dividing and growing. The biggest difference is that proton therapy delivers less radiation to healthy tissue because protons can be precisely controlled.
In standard radiation therapy treatments, energy is released continuously as X-rays move through the body. This means healthy tissue along their path, in front of and behind the tumor, can receive unintended damage. Depending on the location of the tumor, vital organs such as the brain, heart or spine can be affected.
In proton therapy treatments, less energy is released as the protons enter the body and all of the remaining energy is deposited at the treatment site, reducing the amount of healthy tissue that receives dose.12
Study Compares Effects of X-ray Radiation with Proton Therapy
A study analyzed patients treated with X-ray radiation and compared them with patients treated with proton therapy. Of the patients treated with X-ray radiation, 12.8 percent developed secondary cancers caused by treatment, while only 6.4 percent of the proton therapy patients developed secondary cancers.6