What are the benefits of proton therapy?

The main advantage of proton therapy over current photon therapy is that the healthy tissue in front of and behind the tumour can be spared as much as possible. In comparison to classic radiotherapy, the overall radiation burden of a treatment with protons is lower and fewer side effects occur.

However, the extent to which the risk of side effects decreases varies from patient to patient. Proton therapy is thus not necessarily better for everyone. Sometimes a combination of protons and photons is used.

Proton therapy makes sense if any of the following conditions can be met:

Lower radiation dose in healthy tissue

  • The radiation dose in healthy tissue decreases, while the dose in the tumour remains constant.
  • Possible consequences: fewer (late) side effects and a lower risk of a new cancer (secondary tumour) in the long term.

✔ Higher radiation dose in the tumour

  • The radiation dose in the tumour can be increased without increasing the dose in the surrounding (healthy) tissue to the same extent.
  • Particularly useful in tumours where the administration of a higher radiation dose offers a greater chance of recovery, but the higher dose causes too great a risk of serious side effects (such as blindness) with conventional radiotherapy.
Last edit: 17 February 2023