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By Scot Ackerman

M.D. on 02/09/2016

Reflections on “Technology Trends: Proton Therapy Treatment for Breast Cancer”

In December 2015, Applied Radiation Oncology published an article examining the benefits of Proton Therapy Treatment for Breast Cancer.

In many cancer cases, proton therapy treatment is more beneficial than conventional X-ray radiation for breast cancer patients because it reduces the dose of radiation to surrounding healthy tissue, like the heart and lungs. Extremely high doses of radiation exposure can result in a woman developing heart attacks, heart disease, and/or chronic lung damage as a long-term side effect of her treatment.

Cancer patients and survivors are living longer, healthier lives today. It is important that a newly diagnosed patient feels empowered to research her treatment options so that she can have the best outcomes regarding her personal quality of life.

With each patient—whether breast cancer or any other tumor site—Ackerman Cancer Center’s medical physics department creates a proton therapy and a conventional radiation treatment plan to compare which course of treatment will be most efficient and effective. Since our proton therapy machine came online last year, approximately 50 percent of our breast cancer patients have been selected for treatment with the pinpoint precision of proton therapy.

Because proton therapy does not have an exit dose, some clinicians have a concern about the uncertainty of where the proton particles will hit their peak energy deposition—healthy tissue or cancer cells. Ackerman Cancer Center addresses this uncertainty through daily image guidance, surgical clips left from lumpectomy procedures, and coaching the patient on breath-hold techniques. We will also have pencil beam scanning, which allows us to treat larger, more complicated tumors, with the installation of our second Mevion proton therapy machine next year.  

Contact us to get answers for your questions about proton therapy treatment.

To read the full article from Applied Radiation Oncology, click here.

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