Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses a single beam of high-energy protons to treat various forms of cancer.

Just as with conventional radiation, protons treat tumors by directing radiation into the tumor site where doses of radiation destroy cancerous cells.

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What is proton therapy, and how does it differ from conventional radiation therapy?

How Proton Therapy Works

When doses of protons enter the body, they deposit most of their energy at a specific target, destroying cancerous cells and reducing damage to surrounding areas and critical organs. This differs from conventional radiation, which uses x-rays that have a higher entrance and exit dose both before and after the tumor.

To further explain, take a look at the graph below, and imagine that the Y-axis (radiation dose) is the surface of a patient’s skin, and the area between the dotted line is a tumor. The goal of treatment is to deliver the proper dose of radiation directly to the tumor while limiting the amount of exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. The sloping gray area shows how x-rays deliver a dose. To deposit the proper amount of energy into the tumor, conventional x-rays must irradiate much of the healthy tissue in front of it, and by their nature they continue to penetrate through the tumor and irradiate.

Proton therapy targets the tumor with precise accuracy, allowing patients to receive higher, more effective doses, and reducing damage to nearby healthy tissue. Provision CARES Proton Therapy features Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS), which increases the accuracy and advantages of proton therapy. With PBS, oncologists can treat a tumor using the proton beam at a precisely configured range and adjust the intensity of the beam to achieve the appropriate dose, then stop the beam in its tracks, limiting the collateral damage. As a result, vital organs surrounding the cancer are better protected from unnecessary radiation, thus minimizing or completely avoiding treatment-induced side effects, such as nerve damage with resulting neurologic dysfunction, as well as avoiding other complications such as breathing difficulties, feeding tubes, nausea, impotence, secondary cancers and more.

A non-invasive treatment, proton therapy for cancer is best used to treat individuals with a localized tumor where cancer has not spread to other parts of the body, or when tumors cannot be removed surgically, or in some cases when radiation therapy is required in addition to surgery. Proton therapy may be combined with other treatment options, depending on the specific details of your case. Learn more by clicking here.

Proton Therapy Clinical Benefits

A non-invasive, accurate treatment, proton therapy is one of the most advanced cancer treatment options in the world for localized cancers that have yet to spread to other parts of the body. It controls cancer with a lower risk of negative side effects and damage to secondary tissue. At Provision CARES Proton Therapy, our goal is to make this effective and successful treatment available to as many people as possible. Learn more by clicking here.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among men, usually growing slowly and remaining in the prostate gland. A man’s risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, most common in men 65 and older. A family history of prostate cancer and obesity are other risk factors. If detected early, there are many prostate cancer options for successful treatment, including proton therapy for prostate cancer. Learn more by clicking here.

  • Proton patients are almost twice as likely to report treatment had NO IMPACT on their quality of life compared to surgery, conventional radiation, and brachytherapy.
  • 4.9% higher overall 5-year survival rate
  • 35% less radiation to bladder and 59%less radiation to the rectum
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  • Half as many incidents of long term (2+ years) moderate or severe bowel problems
  • 42% reduction in relative risk of developing a secondary malignancy
  • Significantly fewer reports of gastrointestinal, genitourinary, endocrine, or “other” complication
  • Learn more about prostate cancer clinical studies

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that originates from tissues of the breast. It is the second leading cause of cancer death, surpassed only by lung cancer. As with other cancers, the best possible outcomes for breast cancer treatment come through early breast cancer care. Proton therapy has unique attributes that can reduce radiation exposure to normal, healthy organs.This is especially important in left-sided breast cancer, as the cancer is close to critical organs such as the heart and the lungs. Learn more by clicking here.

  • 50% reduction of clinically significant radiation doses to the heart
  • Delivers 8-18 times less overall radiation to the heart than IMRT
  • 50-83% less risk of heart attack or another major coronary event depending on age
  • 97% of partial breast irradiation patients experience no breast tumor recurrence at 5 years
  • 90% of cases result in good to excellent cosmetic outcomes at 5 years
  • Learn more about breast cancer clinical studies.

Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancers most often appear in the squamous cells, which line areas like the throat, mouth, and nose, sometimes causing face and neck disfiguration and impacting speech, sight and sense of smell.

Just as with brain and eye cancers, vulnerable, critical tissues and structures usually surround tumors that form in these regions, including the spinal cord and jawbone. As a result, they are prone to inadvertently receive unnecessary radiation exposure when traditional radiation treatment methods are used. Learn more by clicking here.

  • Less side effects during first 3 months after treatment, quicker return to normal function
  • 50% less likely to have secondary tumor from treatment
  • 45% reduction in overall risk of needing a feeding tube for nasopharyngeal cancer
  • 27% reduction in overall risk of needing a feeding tube for oropharyngeal cancer
  • 44% increase of relative 5-year disease-free survival rate for nasal and paranasal sinus cavity cancers
  • 50% overall increase of disease control for chordomas
  • Learn more about head and neck cancer clinical studies.

Other Cancers We Treat

Proton therapy is a non-invasive treatment for cancer, beneficial for treating patients with a localized tumor where cancer has not spread to other parts of the body, or in situations where tumors cannot be removed surgically. Proton therapy may also be an option for cases that require radiation therapy in addition to surgery or combined with other treatment options.

With the combination of the highest standards of medical care and the personal attention to the patients we serve, Provision CARES Proton Therapy strives to bring hope and healing through our unique Culture of Care. Provision CARES Proton Therapy treats a wide variety of cancers such as:

Visit knoxvilleproton.com to learn more about our proton therapy, cancers we treat, and our APEx-accredited proton therapy cancer center, an accreditation that distinguishes us from other cancer centers globally.

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