What is Proton Beam Therapy?
Proton Beam Therapy is the most precise, painless and noninvasive form of radiation therapy used today to treat cancer and other benign conditions. Proton beam therapy has treated nealry 50,000 patients worldwide, since 1954. Most of those patients were treated in research facilities; however, since 1990, the Optivus system has safely treated nearly 13,000 patients in a clinical setting.
How Does Proton Therapy Work?
Protons are stable, positively charged subatomic particles with a mass 1,800 times that
of photons. These characteristics allow the proton's dose of radiation to be controlled in
3 dimensions to the exact shape and depth of the tumor within the body. As protons travel through the body interacting with tissues, their velocity slows until reaching the intended target – the tumor – where the bulk of the energy is released in a sharp burst (ionization), followed by a rapid decline in dose energy. This phenomenon is known as the Bragg Peak. Virtually no radiation is expended beyond this point. Consequently, tissues in front of the target (entrance dose) receive a very small dose. Tissues adjacent to and beyond the tumor
receive virtually no dosage.
The Bragg Peak represents the delivery of a full, localized uniform dose of proton energy within the tumor. Targeting the tumors with such precision in 3 dimensions makes Proton Therapy far superior to other radiation treatment options. As a result, Proton Therapy is ideal for tumors in or near critical structures (such as the brain, heart, optic nerve or spinal cord) that are inoperable and cannot tolerate much radiation.
Conventional radiation therapy can control many forms of cancer; however, most of the radiation is deposited on healthy tissue. Because X-rays are only controlled in 2 dimensions, healthy tissue beyond the cancer (exit dose) receives high-doses of radiation.
Conditions Treated With Proton Therapy
Listed below is an abbreviated list of conditions that benefit from proton therapy.
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