Overview
Proton Therapy vs. X-ray
Benefits of Proton Therapy
Conditions Treated
Proton Therapy Overview
Proton radiation treatment differs from standard radiation therapy. If given in sufficient doses, conventional radiation therapy techniques will control many cancers. However, because of the physician's inability to adequately conform the irradiation pattern to the cancer, healthy tissues may be damaged with radiation. Consequently, a less-than-desired dose frequently is used to reduce damage to healthy tissues and avoid subsequent unacceptable side effects. The characteristics of proton beam therapy enable the physician to deliver full or higher doses while sparing surrounding healthy tissues and organs.

Much research and many hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding went into developing the technology to accelerate protons. Much of that work was done at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab).

Using high-energy protons for medical treatment was first proposed in 1946. Protons were first used to treat patients with certain cancers less than 10 years later. Research and laboratory applications have increased rapidly over the next five decades and today, the full benefits of proton treatment are offered to patients with a wide variety of cancers and proton therapy is widely accepted as a preferred treatment for many forms of cancer, particularly for localized cancers, cancers near vital organs, and pediatric cancers.



     

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Proton radiation treatment differs from standard radiation therapy. If given in sufficient doses, conventional radiation therapy techniques will control many cancers. However, because of the physician's inability to adequately conform the irradiation pattern to the cancer, healthy tissues may be damaged with radiation.
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