Proton Therapy FAQ

What is proton therapy?

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses a beam of protons to precisely target tumors, most often in the treatment of cancer. This precision reduces damage to healthy tissue near the tumor and potentially allows for higher, more effective doses of radiation. It can be used alone, in combination with chemotherapy or conventional x-ray radiation treatments, or as a follow-up treatment to surgery. Proton therapy is part of a comprehensive range of advanced cancer treatment options offered by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ), Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and private physicians in the community.

How is it different from conventional x-ray radiation treatments?

Proton therapy delivers a powerful punch of radiation right to the tumor site. X-rays release their maximum dose of radiation after penetrating the skin, potentially damaging healthy tissue and organs on their way to and from the tumor site.

What are the benefits of proton therapy?

Proton therapy’s main advantage is that its radiation beams can be controlled by depth, shape, and amount of radiation dose. This precision means that many of the side effects of radiation treatment can be significantly reduced and allows for a quicker return to normal, daily life and activities. This accuracy also makes it an ideal option for pediatric patients and adult patients with tumors in sensitive locations, such as near the heart, brain, head, eye, neck, lung, or prostate.

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