Proton therapy is an advanced form of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), where the treatment machine focuses high-energy particles (protons) into your tumor from outside your body. All radiotherapy, including proton and high-energy X-rays (photon), destroys cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Healthy cells can repair themselves after exposure, depending on the level of DNA damage. Proton therapy’s added benefit is its stopping power, meaning particles (or protons) deposit most of the dose within the tumor—minimizing damage to healthy tissue. As a result of its stopping power, proton therapy may be preferable for treating tumors near vital structures, recurrent cancers, and cancers in children.
Pencil beam scanning and IMPT
The Varian ProBeam® system allows us to target tumors with high precision thanks to its use of high-definition pencil beam scanning and best-in-class imaging. Only pencil beam scanning is able to deliver Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT), which is recognized for its effectiveness and considered an advancement over other proton therapy delivery methods.
IMPT offers a number of advantages:
- Delivers a high dose of proton therapy directly to the tumor
- Sculpts doses to the complex shape and size of an individual tumor
- Reduces the risk of damage to healthy tissues because the beam is designed to stop and deposit dose within the tumor site rather than passing all the way through the patient