Introduction Proton therapy is a form of particle therapy which uses a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue, most often in the treatment of cancer. The chief advantage of proton therapy is the ability to more precisely localize the radiation dosage when compared with other types of external beam radiotherapy.
Description The accelerators used for proton therapy typically produce protons with energies in the range of 70 to 250 MeV . Such protons cause DNA damage specifically to the cells of the selected area without affecting the nearby tissue. The dose delivered to tissue is maximum just over the last few millimeters of the particle’s range; this maximum is called the Bragg peak. All protons of a given energy have a certain range, very few protons penetrate beyond that distance.
Advantages1. Most precise form of radiation treatment available today.2. Is non-invasive and painless.3. Avoids the usual side effects of standard x-ray radiation.4. Highly preferred radiation treatment modality option for pediatric cases because children are susceptible to injury from standard x-ray radiation .
Side effects and risks Preliminary results from a 2009 study, including high dose treatments, show very few or no side effects.
Applications Conditions Treated Prostate, Base of Skull, Brain and Spinal Cord, Eye, Head and Neck, Chest and Abdomen, Tumors in Children.
Comparison with other treatmentoptions X-ray radiotherapy X-ray radiation dose falls off gradually, while tissues deeper in the body than the tumor receive essentially no radiation during proton therapy. X-ray therapy causes damage to the tumor as well as the surrounding healthy tissues. .
Surgery The benefit of external beam proton radiation lies in the dosimetric difference from external beam x-ray radiation and brachytherapy in cases, where the use of radiation therapy is already indicated, rather than as a direct competition with surgery.