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Breast Cancer: Proton Therapy Cancer Treatment

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Remarkable precision. Ultimate control. Fewer treatment-related complications.

These are the defining features of proton therapy treatment, an advanced form of radiation treatment that targets and destroys tumours while reducing the risks of harmful side-effects. For patients with complex tumours, patients with tumours that come back after prior treatment, and children with , proton therapy is an ideal and uniquely effective alternative to traditional radiation.

Proton Therapy Cancer Treatment

For women and men with breast cancer, conventional treatment poses a risk to the heart and lungs as well as other nearby tissue, muscle and bone—by exposing them to radiation.

For this reason, proton radiation therapy is an increasingly common treatment for breast cancer. Compared to conventional treatment, proton therapy delivers approximately 50 percent less radiation to the lungs and almost no radiation to the heart.

As a result, patients who receive proton therapy for breast cancer are at lower risk of long-term side effects. Specifically, proton therapy reduces the risk of ischemic heart disease, a major problem caused by narrowed arteries, as well as cardiac complications, lung scarring and secondary malignancies.

Also, women who receive proton therapy are typically more satisfied with the cosmetic outcome compared to traditional radiation treatment.

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from proton therapy is rapid, generally with very minimal side effects.

What Types Of Breast Cancer Can Be Treated With Proton Therapy?
DCIS is the earliest form of breast cancer, characterized by abnormal cells confined to the milk duct of the breast. It is non-invasive, meaning it is unlikely to spread into any normal tissue beyond the milk duct.

Every tumour is unique: Where it occurs in the body, its shape and size, its relationship to other organs and tissue. Conventional radiation cannot accommodate these differences effectively. The New York Proton Center can. We customize every facet of treatment, taking into account the many variables that make each case different from the next. Not one size fits all. One size fits only you.

Proton therapy can treat all forms of breast cancer. It is particularly beneficial when cancer develops in the left breast, close to the heart. For patients whose breast cancer has spread to adjacent lymph nodes, proton therapy may treat the affected area more thoroughly. 

Proton therapy can also treat any residual breast cancer that remains or recurs following breast conservation therapy or mastectomy.

Most proton centres treat breast cancer with volumetric beams that deliver a fixed quantity of energy to the entire tumour and surrounding normal tissues. But the pencil beam scanning technology available at the New York Proton Center uses “intensity-modulated proton therapy,” or IMPT.

IMTP is widely considered the most advanced form of proton therapy for breast cancer. It delivers different radiation doses to different parts of the tumour based on its exact location, maximizing the chance of a cure while better protecting surrounding healthy tissue from radiation.

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Pencil Beam Scanning: Highly Advanced Proton Therapy For Breast Cancer

At the New York Proton Center, patients with breast cancer receive Pencil Beam Scanning. It’s the most sophisticated and precise type of proton therapy.

Pencil Beam Scanning allows clinicians to create a highly customized treatment field based on the unique shape, size and location of the breast cancer tumour—similar to traditional proton therapy, only with even greater precision.

As the name implies, Pencil Beam Scanning uses an extremely narrow beam—just a few millimetres wide—to “dot” protons onto the cancer cells. The process is repeated, layer by layer, like paint applied by the tip of an incredibly fine brush. The treatment is ultra-precise, capable of closely regulating the radiation dose according to the volume of the tumour.

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A Personalized Approach To Treating Breast Cancer With Proton Therapy

Most proton centres treat breast cancer with volumetric beams that deliver a fixed quantity of energy to the entire tumour and surrounding normal tissues. But the pencil beam scanning technology available at the New York Proton Center uses “intensity-modulated proton therapy,” or IMPT.

IMTP is widely considered the most advanced form of proton therapy for breast cancer. It delivers different radiation doses to different parts of the tumour based on its exact location, maximizing the chance of a cure while better protecting surrounding healthy tissue from radiation.

Henry Ohaegbulam
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