Proton therapy is most beneficial for patients with solid tumors near critical organs or structures that have not spread to other areas of the body. However, if the tumor has spread (metastasized), proton therapy may still be an option. Proton cancer treatment may also benefit patients who cannot tolerate any more X-ray radiation.
Proton therapy is a recommended treatment for many patients, including:
- Patients whose tumors are near critical organs or structures, such as brain, heart, lungs, GI tract, spine and head and neck
- Patients who also need chemotherapy
- Patients whose cancers have recurred
- Patients who cannot have any more X-ray radiation treatment and have reached their limit for traditional radiation
- Pediatric patients
The types of tumors treated using proton therapy will continue to expand as research continues and care teams develop proton cancer treatment plans for more types of tumors.
Proton therapy is not appropriate for all types of cancers or all patients. Only a healthcare provider can determine the best approach for each unique condition.
Can children receive proton therapy?
Since their bodies are still growing, children are more sensitive to healthy tissue damage caused by X-rays making proton therapy particularly beneficial to children. Clinical studies suggest that proton therapy reduces the risk of growth and developmental problems in children, as well as secondary tumors later in their lives.