What is Proton Therapy

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Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatments

Protons can be controlled with greater precision than X-rays. This means that more energy goes into destroying the tumor and less radiation is delivered to surrounding healthy tissue. For this reason, proton therapy is particularly good for treating tumors near healthy organs, including gastrointestinal tumors.

Gastrointestinal (GI) tumors can occur anywhere along the GI tract.

GI Tract Tumors Most Appropriate for Proton Therapy

  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
    • Gastric carcinoma
    • Adenocarinoma
  • Pancreas and bile duct
  • Liver and liver metastases
  • Rectum
  • Anal canal
  • Select recurrent and metastatic cancer

Treatment for GI tract tumors often requires a combination of radiation therapy and either chemotherapy or surgery. The combination of these therapies can be difficult for patients to tolerate. In some cases, standard radiation isn’t a viable treatment option for patients because it would cause too much damage to healthy tissues and organs near the tumor. For these patients, proton therapy can be an effective treatment option because protons deposit more energy directly to the tumor and significantly reduce the radiation dose to healthy tissues. Patients treated with proton therapy for GI tract tumors often experience fewer side effects. Comparision of proton and standard radiation available from PubMed.

Treatment-planning studies for esophageal cancer found that the more precise dose delivered with proton therapy (left, above) reduced the likelihood of lung complications.

For a recent study on protons and esophageal cancers conducted by our own physicians, click here.

In the case of anal cancers, protons (left, above) can spare healthy bowel tissue from exposure to radiation. 

Active Breathing Coordinator

Tumors such as abdominal cancers tend to move when the patient breathes. To better control tumor movement and enable cancer patients to best benefit from proton therapy, SCCA Proton Therapy Center has become the first proton center in the United States to use an advanced breath-holding device that aids patients in their ability to control breathing during radiation treatment. The Active Breathing Coordinator (ABC) device assists patients with systematically holding their breath before or after they have breathed out. During this brief time, the ABC makes the tumor a stationary target for the proton beam.

To read a gastrointestinal cancer survivor story, please click here

Gastrointestinal Cancers; Prostate Cancer

“As a radiation oncologist, my goal is to guide patients through this difficult time by providing the most compassionate, personalized care possible and making sure they have access to the latest, innovative clinical trials and state-of-art technology.”

Sarcomas and Gastrointestinal Cancers

“I believe in individualized care and making decisions with my patients as a partnership.”

Related Studies

Proton irradiation for hepatocellular carcinoma. Tanaka N, Matsuzaki Y, Chuganji Y, Osuga T, Kuramoto K, Tsujii H. Read Study
Proton therapy posterior beam approach with pencil beam scanning for esophageal cancer: clinical outcome, dosimetry, and feasibility Zeng YC, Vyas S, Dang Q, Schultz L, Bowen SR, Shankaran V, Farjah F, Oelschlager BK, Apisarnthanarax S, Zeng J. Read Study
Proton beam therapy and concurrent chemotherapy for esophageal cancer Lin SH, Komaki R, Liao Z, Wei C, Myles B, Guo X, Palmer M, Mohan R, Swisher SG, Hofstetter WL, Ajani JA, Cox JD Read Study
Charged particle therapy versus photon therapy for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Qi WX1, Fu S, Zhang Q, Guo XM. Read Study