About proton therapy
    What is proton therapy?
  • Proton therapy is a type of radiotherapy. Radiotherapy uses X-rays or electron beams to destroy cancer cells. X-rays, which are mostly used in radiotherapy, also damage neighboring healthy cells. Proton beams, unlike X-rays, release most of their energy when they reach the tumor cells. After this point, their energy decreases dramatically. The location where the most energy is released is called the ‘Bragg Peak’. As the proton beam primarily targets tumor cells, avoiding the surrounding healthy tissue, patients given proton therapy tend to enjoy better lifestyles during and after treatment compared with those treated with conventional X-rays. The location of the Bragg Peak.
    Varies according to the strength of the beam and the tissues it passes through. By controlling the strength of the proton beam, we can precisely target the tumor and destroy it.
    What is a proton?
  • A proton is a positively charged particle derived from the atomic nucleus. The protons used in proton therapy are derived from hydrogen atoms from which the electron has been extracted.
    What is the history of proton therapy?
  • The physicist Robert R. Wilson first proposed the medical use of proton beams in 1946. The first clinical trial of proton therapy was started at a cyclotron laboratory for nuclear physics research in the 1950s. Since 1991, when the Loma Linda California Hospital introduced the first hospital-based proton therapy facility, proton therapy has made significant advances. Currently, about 20 centers worldwide offer proton therapy for cancer.
    How does the proton beam kill cancer cells?
  • As the proton beams passes through the body, it ionizes the target tissues, damaging the DNA in cancer cells. Cells containing damaged DNA cannot divide, and undergo apoptosis (cell death) instead.
    What are the differences between proton therapy and conventional radiotherapy?
  • Conventional X-rays affect all of the tissues along the beam path. However, using proton beams, we can carefully control the radiation to ensure that most of the energy is released within the tumor tissue. This can minimize damage to healthy tissues located in the beam path.
    How accurately can you control the target of the proton beam?
  • The target of the proton beam can be controlled with an error of less than 1mm.
    Is proton therapy safe?
  • Proton therapy is safe because there are many safety devices designed to prevent accidents during treatment. The proton beam is also very precisely delivered to minimize damage to healthy tissues.
    Is there any pain during proton therapy?
  • Patients do not feel any pain during proton therapy.
    How long does each treatment take?
  • It takes about 15-30 minutes to position the patient and locate the target. The proton beam is then applied for about 2-5 minutes. The total treatment time varies depending on the tumor type and location, but usually ranges from a couple of days to 7 weeks.
    Are there any side effects?
  • Patients may experience a loss of appetite and fatigue during treatment, although these side effects may vary according to the target. The short-term and long-term side effects of proton therapy are much less severe than those of conventional radiation therapy. Patients usually continue their normal lifestyles during the treatment course. For more detailed information, please consult your doctor.
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