Proton therapy

Proton treatment is a sort of radiation therapy that is also known as proton beam therapy. It treats cancer using protons rather than x-rays.

A positively charged particle is a proton. Protons have enough energy to kill cancer cells. Proton treatment may be used alone by doctors. They may also use it in conjunction with x-ray radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy.

Proton treatment, like x-ray radiation, is an external-beam radiation therapy. It delivers painless radiation from a machine outside the body through the skin.

How does proton therapy works?

Protons are accelerated in a synchrotron or cyclotron. The protons’ fast speed generates a lot of energy. The protons are propelled to the required depth in the body by this energy. The protons then deliver the tumor’s targeted radiation

There is less radiation dose outside of the tumour with proton therapy. X-rays continue to provide radiation doses as they exit the body in traditional radiation therapy. This means that radiation may have negative effects by damaging neighboring healthy tissues.

What to expect?

Proton treatment is normally administered as an outpatient procedure. This implies they won’t need to go to the hospital for treatment. The number of therapy sessions required is determined on the cancer’s type and stage.

Doctors may use 1 to 5 proton beam sessions to perform proton therapy. For a smaller number of treatments, they employ higher daily radiation doses. This is commonly referred to as stereotactic body radiation. Radiosurgery is the term used when a person receives a single significant dosage of radiation.

Treatment planning

Proton therapy necessitates preparation. A specific computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan will be performed prior to therapy. You will be in the same position as during treatment during this scan.

During the scan, you should keep your movements to a minimum. As a result, you may be fitted with a gadget that assists you in remaining motionless. The sort of device used is determined by the location of the tumour in the body. For example, a tumour in the eye, brain, or head may necessitate the use of a custom-made mask. Later, he or she would be required to wear this gadget for the radiation planning scan.

During a radiation planning scan, you will lie down on a table while the doctor determines the precise locations on your body or the device where radiation therapy will be administered. This ensures that your position is correct throughout each proton treatment.

The devices are made to fit tightly so that there is no movement during therapy. However, the medical team encourages each patient to be as relaxed as possible during therapy. It’s critical that you speak with the team about finding a comfortable treatment position.

When the device requires them to lie still in one position, some people, particularly those with malignancies in the head and neck region, become worried. If this gives you anxiety, you should speak with your medical staff. To assist you relax for the scans, your doctor may prescribe medication.

The radiation therapy scan will be used by the medical team to mark the location of the tumours on the body. They’ll also make a note of where the regular tissues are so they don’t go there. This procedure is comparable to the x-ray radiation planning procedure.

Receiving treatment

Preparation is required for proton therapy. Prior to treatment, a specific computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan will be done. During this scan, you will be in the same position as during therapy.

Keep your motions to a bare minimum during the scan. As a result, you can be fitted with a device that helps you stay immobile. The type of gadget utilized is dependent on where the tumour is located in the body. A tumour in the eye, brain, or head, for example, would demand the usage of a custom-made mask. He or she would have to wear this device for the radiation planning scan later.

You will lie down on a table during a radiation planning scan while the doctor determines the exact spots on your body or the device where radiation therapy will be administered. This guarantees that you maintain the same position during each proton therapy.

The devices are designed to fit snugly so that no movement occurs during therapy. During therapy, however, the medical team advises each patient to be as relaxed as possible. It’s vital that you discuss obtaining a comfortable treatment position with the staff.

Some people, particularly those with head and neck cancers, express concerned when the device demands them to lie still in one position. If this makes you nervous, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to help you relax before the scans.

The medical team will utilise the radiation therapy scan to indicate the position of the tumours on the body. They’ll also note the location of the ordinary tissues so they don’t go there. This process is similar to that of x-ray radiation planning.

Side effects of proton therapy

The procedure is completely painless. You can feel exhausted afterward. Redness, inflammation, swelling, dryness, blistering, and peeling are all possible skin disorders.

Other side effects are possible, especially if you are also getting chemotherapy. The types of healthy tissue near the tumour, as well as the location of the body being treated, all influence the adverse effects of proton therapy. Inquire with your doctor about the adverse effects that are most likely to harm you.

Cancer treated with proton therapy

Proton therapy also may be used to treat these cancers:

  • Central nervous system cancers, including chordoma, chondrosarcoma, and malignant meningioma
  • Eye cancer, including uveal melanoma or choroidal melanoma
  • Head and neck cancers, including nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer and some nasopharyngeal cancers
  • Lung cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Spinal and pelvic sarcomas, which are cancers that occur in the soft-tissue and bone
  • Noncancerous brain tumors

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