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Proton Beam Therapy For Cancer Treatment

Proton Beam Therapy for Cancer Treatment is an advanced technology that allows radiation oncologists to target tumors with the maximum radiation-destroying power while decreasing the dose to healthy tissue and organs. It is a highly effective treatment option for patients with certain types of cancer since high-energy protons rather than X-rays can be precisely focused on the targeted area. This type of radiation therapy is particularly beneficial for children and young adults whose bodies are still developing due to the reduced dose of radiation to uninvolved, normal tissues.

What is Proton Beam Therapy?

Proton therapy, commonly known as proton beam therapy in India, is a type of sophisticated radiation therapy that treats cancer with high-energy protons. A proton is a positively charged atomic particle found within an atom’s nucleus. Protons with high energy can kill cancer cells. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and/or immunotherapy can all be administered in combination with proton treatment. Because the radiation is supplied from an external source outside the body, proton therapy is classified as external-beam radiation therapy.

Proton therapy is a targeted, customized cancer treatment in India. The following are some of the advantages of this highly personalized therapy option:

  • Radiation exposures to healthy tissue are reduced.
  • Ability to be used in combination with chemotherapy or surgery if necessary
  • In children and adults, there may be a lower incidence of radiation-induced secondary cancers.
  • Children and young adults may be at a lower risk of developmental delays and growth abnormalities.
  • If necessary, anesthesia or sedation may be used during proton therapy.

What are the types of Proton Beam Radiation Therapy?

Oncologists use different types of proton beam radiation therapy depending on the shape and size of the tumor that needs to be exposed to external radiation: 

  • Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT): In this type, radiation beams are exposed from different dimensions to match the exact size of the tumor.
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT): It is a form of 3D-CRT where a CT scan or another imaging scan is done before each treatment.
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): In this type of therapy, the intensity of radiation can be controlled as per the requirement.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery: A type of radiation therapy in which a significant dosage of radiation is delivered to a small tumor region in a single session. It’s used to treat brain tumors and other head tumors. Radiation is delivered to the tumor from a variety of angles once the exact location of the tumor has been determined via brain imaging. The radiation is precisely targeted to cause as little damage to the surrounding tissues as possible. It’s termed “radiosurgery” because the radiation beams are delivered with such precision, almost like surgery. However, there is no cutting or incision at all.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy is a treatment that takes place outside of the brain (SBRT). SBRT may be used to treat cancers in the lungs, spine, and liver. Types of SBRT used by oncologists are X-knife, Cyberknife, and Gamma knife.

Although most patients receiving stereotactic radiosurgery will receive the complete radiation dose in one session, it may be repeated if necessary. To deliver the same or slightly larger dose, doctors may divide the radiation into multiple smaller sessions. Fractionated radiosurgery or fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy are two terms for the same thing.

How does Proton Beam Therapy Work?

To cure cancer, high-energy rays are used in radiotherapy. It kills cancer cells in the area where it is administered. The objective is to:

  • Halt the spread of malignant cells
  • Cancer can be shrunk or totally eradicated.

High-energy x-rays are used in standard radiotherapy. The radiotherapy is precisely targeted at the tumor, but it also goes through some healthy cells that surround it. The radiotherapy damages certain normal cells, which can result in negative effects. The majority of side effects are only transient.

Instead of x-rays, protons are used in proton beam therapy. Atoms are made up of protons. A particle accelerator, often known as a cyclotron, can accelerate protons. After that, the protons are formed into a beam that is directed at the tumor.

The proton beam travels through healthy cells before arriving at the tumor. The proton beam slows and ends when it reaches the tumor. The protons then release all of their energy, causing cancer cells to die.

What type of Cancers can be Treated with Proton Beam Therapy?

Many clinical studies are ongoing to compare the effectiveness of proton beam therapy with traditional X-ray photon therapy. So far, it is unclear whether proton therapy improves tumor control or reduces side effects compared to photon beam therapy for most types of cancer.

Proton Beam Therapy in India is typically reserved for the treatment of cancer, such as:

As all of these above-mentioned cancer care has become one of the world’s fastest-growing healthcare priorities, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, Chennai serves as a sign of hope for millions of cancer patients from 147 countries seeking the most advanced cancer treatment, empowering them to face cancer head-on.

It is necessary to arrange your treatment before you begin. This is to ensure that proton beam therapy is as effective as possible:

  • It’s targeted specifically at cancer and produces the least amount of damage to neighboring healthy cells.
  • A clinical oncologist and a proton beam therapy team plan proton beam therapy for cancer in each individual.

It’s important to inform the hospital staff about any medications you are taking and any allergies you may have. They may counsel you to take painkillers before your planning and treatment so that you are comfortable.


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