Proton therapy works well for localized solid tumors, whether benign or malignant, so we can address and cure the tumor by treating that location. We try to limit ourselves to curative patients who have a good quality of life because they need to come daily for the treatments over potentially a long period. Some patients require as many as 45 treatments ; some as few as 4 or 5. Generally, it is a four- to eight-week course of treatment.
Many patients have previously been treated with conventional therapy, and the tumors came back. They have no options at this point, but we may be able to re-radiate those patients with proton therapy.
There is no age restriction. Our patient population ranges from babies to very spry 95-year-olds. Proton therapy is becoming a mainstay for treating pediatric tumors. By sparing still-growing tissue in children, proton therapy can reduce growth defects and secondary tumors caused by traditional radiation.