Discover Proton Therapy

Dr. Allan Thornton, a radiation oncologist at the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute and SAH Care’s Chief Medical Officer

“Proton Therapy is not new, is not experimental, we’ve done this for years at Harvard University, since 1961. It has been my privilege to practice Proton Therapy for now more over 25 years. It is a very well-established therapy with greater precision in terms of delivery, resulting from the basic physics of the beam. We can aim it more accurately and, most importantly, we can stop or control the beam, which is important because we want to avoid exposing normal tissue as much as possible.”

Dr. Allan Thornton

What is Proton Therapy ?

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    Proton Therapy is one of the most effective forms of cancer treatment available today. It is more precise, less painful and has minimal side effects. It has helped tens of thousands of patients and their families in the fight against cancer.
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    Proton Therapy was pioneered in the United States more than 50 years ago. By the end of 2018 it had been used to treat more than 170,000 patients. Over the past decade, Proton Therapy has emerged as the most effective treatment method for a variety of cancers. Because it is a more accurate method for delivering radiation to the site of a tumor, proton therapy allows doctors to use a higher dose of radiation, without the risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. Proton therapy patients experience relatively few harmful side effects and are able to maintain a high quality of life during and after treatment.

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    Proton Therapy’s greatest advantage over conventional radiation therapy is its accuracy and its ability to powerfully treat cancerous tissues while avoiding healthy ones. Conventional x-rays are made of photons that pass through the body and deposit considerable energy before and after the tumor. Proton Therapy deposits less energy on its way to the tumor and does not affect tissues beyond it. This confines the radiation dose to the tumor and decreases the risk of injury to surrounding healthy tissues.

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    Proton Therapy is noninvasive. The actual beam of protons is only delivered directly to the tumor, for several minutes per session. Due to Proton Therapy’s targeted design, patients experience fewer side effects because damage to healthy tissue and organs can be limited. Studies have shown that Proton Therapy may significantly decrease the estimated risk of developing secondary malignancies.

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    Proton Therapy is considered to be a desirable and advanced treatment for cancer because of its unique ability to reduce side effects for patients. Proton Therapy is noninvasive and the actual beam of protons is delivered for a minimal number of minutes per session. Depending on the specific treatment plan, patients typically receive daily outpatient Proton Therapy treatments for a number of weeks. Treatments vary according to tumor type, location, size, and the patient’s overall health and diagnosis. Because of Proton Therapy’s noninvasive nature, many patients report limited side effects and the ability to enjoy their daily lives.