What is Proton Therapy
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Breast Cancer at our Center

Breast Cancer at our Center

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 200,000 women each year are diagnosed with breast cancer. For decades, conventional breast radiotherapy, meaning X-rays or photons, has helped save the lives of many women. However, despite its success, conventional breast radiotherapy can expose the surrounding organs to radiation, such as the heart and lungs.

Until recently, conventional radiotherapy’s side effects have been accepted in order to appropriately treat the cancer. However, proton therapy, which uses an advanced form of radiation treatment that directly targets the tumor without creating excess radiation to healthy tissues and organs, gives women a better option. This is crucial for those with breast cancer.

For those who have breast cancer, proton therapy is a good choice if you have:

  • A need for radiation to the lymph node areas
  • Preexisting heart of lung conditions
  • A need for treatment near your heart and lungs that puts you at risk of receiving extra radiation

To date, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy Center  has treated 52 women with breast cancer from 5 states, and that’s only the beginning. A few additional statistics include:

Currently under beam: 5
Youngest age treated: 26 years
Oldest age treated: 83 years
Average age treated: 52 years
Number treated with Pencil Beam Scanning*: 46

The SCCA Proton Therapy Center is participating in a groundbreaking breast cancer clinical trial to qualifying patients known as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). This is the first clinical trial designed to “compare the effectiveness of proton beam therapy versus conventional photon radiation therapy,” and has lead the way in cancer research. For more information, please visit www.pcori.com and www.sccaprotontherapy.com.

*A note on Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS): For patients who require more complex treatment, we offer PBS to deliver proton therapy. PBS “paints” a tumor with a very thin, very precise beam of protons that’s accurate within millimeters, reducing even further the amount of radiation to healthy tissue. PBS sends rapid pulses of protons to each planned spot within the tumor until the whole tumor is treated.