Proton therapy and X-ray therapy both kill cancer cells by preventing them from dividing and growing. The difference between these therapies is that protons can be controlled, depositing the greatest amount of radiation right into the tumor and then stopping, allowing patients to receive higher doses with less damage to nearby healthy tissue.1,2 In contrast, X-ray radiation releases substantial doses of energy to healthy tissue and organs on the way to the tumor and continues to deliver radiation as it leaves the body.
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The extra dose to healthy tissue from X-ray radiation can be as much as several hundred thousand dental X-rays.
Tumors treated with proton therapy
Proton therapy is more appropriate for certain types of cancer than others. While research continues to support using protons in more tumor types, they are primarily used to treat: