Proton Therapy Facts

Proton therapy:

  • Is the most precise form of radiation treatment available today.
  • Destroys the primary tumor site while leaving surrounding healthy tissue and organs intact and unharmed. 
  • Avoids many of the typical side effects of standard x-ray radiation. 
  • Is non-invasive and painless and delivered as an outpatient procedure. 
  • Allows patients to maintain a good quality of life while being treated. Patients can continue normal activities like playing golf or tennis, swimming, walking or running or other exercise.  
  • Is a highly effective treatment for a wide range of localized tumors in head and neck area, lung, prostate, bladder, spinal cord, gastro malignancies, and ocular tumors, among others.
  • Can be used in conjunction with other cancer treatment modalities such as chemotherapy.  
  • Can take from five days for certain conditions or up to eight weeks depending on tumor sites. 
  • Is a highly preferred radiation treatment option for pediatric cases. Children are susceptible to injury from standard x-ray radiation because their tissues and organs are growing rapidly. 
  • Is covered by Medicare and most health care insurance providers. 

Limited Availability

It’s fair to ask why proton therapy is not used everywhere, why it is so limited in availability.

Until 1990 proton therapy was limited to physics research labs. And like most new technologies, building a proton center can be an expensive endeavor for universities and academic medical centers.

Willis-Knighton Cancer Center contracted with IBA, a medical equipment manufacturer that has miniaturized the machine. This technology, Proteus ONE, allows a decrease in the cost, size of machine and size of building required. The proton therapy center at Willis-Knighton was the first of its kind in the world with this equipment.