An enormous high tech machine is “zapping” tumors and providing new hope to patients across the country. It’s called proton therapy, which is a precise radiation technique that reduces the side effects often accompanied by traditional treatment options.
Doctors at UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health use a massive, 3-story, 200,000 pound machine to direct a proton beam less than a millimeter in diameter into hard to reach areas. Proton therapy is especially beneficial for both adult and pediatric patients with tumors near critical structures like the spine, brain and optic nerve — which can be affected by traditional radiation therapy. By using proton therapy radiation dose can be tailored more precisely than with X-rays, and has a better chance of preserving those critical surrounding areas.
Conventional radiation treatments rely on X-rays, which deposit energy as they make their way through the body – at the skin, on the way to the tumor, and then beyond the tumor. This means the areas surrounding the tumor are also being exposed to a significant amount of radiation. But by using protons, doctors have a big advantage.
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Free and unrestricted media use courtesy: UF Health Cancer Center - Orlando Health
UF Health Cancer Center - Orlando Health