Proton therapy is the most advanced and gentlest cancer treatment while also minimizing side effects. Compared to conventional radiation, it has been proven to protect your senses – sight, hearing and taste. Moreover, it protects neurocognitive functions such as the intellect, memory, and speed of thinking.
Below you will find facts and evidence. Do not hesitate: make your appointment as soon as possible, and we will find the best solution together.
Given their location, tumors in the head and neck area are a serious disease. Every year, about 150,000 new cases are identified in Europe. The chances of a cure vary considerably according to the type and stage of the disease.
Proton therapy is a great opportunity today, especially for patients with tumors that are very difficult to treat located near healthy tissues (optic nerve, retina, optic chiasm, brainstem, spinal cord). Proton therapy offers a brand new chance of a cure for tumors of the cranial base, paranasal sinuses, and other tumors in the head and neck area, specifically those of the salivary glands, pharynx, nasopharynx, and tonsils.
To make the right decision, it is important to have information about the results of the treatment you choose. You should not forget that your decision will significantly affect your future life. Our doctors and the entire PTC team are ready to answer all your questions related to proton therapy. Do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible.
By simply comparing the risks and benefits generally associated with conventional and proton radiotherapy, you can conclude that proton therapy improves the patient’s chances of a cure without unnecessary side effects and complications associated with conventional radiation.
You can influence the treatment decision. Take the first step and contact us to see if proton therapy is suitable for you.Do not hesitate to contact us immediately. HERE
The comparison of proton radiotherapy and conventional photon radiotherapy gives a clear answer regarding the main advantages of modern treatment. Proton therapy, which allows a high radiation dose to be aimed precisely at the tumor with millimeter accuracy, improves the patient’s chances of a cure. It achieves higher efficacy, less damage to healthy tissues, and a reduced number of side effects, thus providing a higher chance of faster recovery and better quality of life after treatment.
The added value of proton therapy is that it spares healthy tissues and thus:
– reduces the risk of serious swallowing difficulties, and eliminates the need for the insertion of a feeding tube (a tube inserted into the stomach to provide food and fluids) in most patients.
– minimizes the risk of hearing and vision impairment, as protons can reduce undesirable irradiation in the area of the inner ear and optic nerves.
– causes no disorders of memory, attention, speed of thinking, cognition or speech, as there is no irradiation of the brain tissue.
Conventional photon radiotherapy for head and neck cancer is one of the most toxic regimens in oncology. Compared with commonly used photon therapy, proton therapy, and especially pencil beam scanning technology, allows for higher doses of radiation directly into the tumor, while better defining this dose to protect healthy tissues. Therefore, this technique is highly beneficial even for complicated head and neck tumors.
Patients with an advanced disease have the highest risk of developing acute and late-onset post-radiation complications. These complications occur to a greater extent in photon therapy due to the irradiation of large volumes of healthy tissues in this sensitive area.
The key to successful treatment is early diagnosis. With proton therapy, you can also preserve your sight, hearing and taste. Due to the accuracy of the proton beam, you have a higher chance of a cure. Protons are able to target the tumor on its own and accurately distribute the dose of radiation needed to destroy the tumor.
Uncompromisingly accurate targeting = better dose distribution. The exact dose distribution has its name: Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS) and is currently the absolute peak of proton therapy. Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS) works such that it only irradiates a defined area. Not more. By delivering repeated high-precision radiation targeted with millimeter accuracy directly to the tumor bed after resection, PBS destroys the tumor cells without damaging any surrounding organs and tissues due to the physical properties of the protons. PBS preserves healthy tissues. This also applies to the tissues in the direction of the beam in front of the tumor, which are only minimally irradiated.
To compare PBS with other techniques, imagine your focus and meticulous care when you are using crayons to paint a defined object on a piece of paper. For example, a circle. You will always try consistently not to cross its borders. That is how PBS works. In addition, you will have 100% confidence that they will “paint” only what is needed. This is why the adverse effects of proton therapy are minimal.
In the case of head and neck cancer treatment, proton therapy can reduce the dose to the spinal cord by up to 80%, the dose to the swallowing tract by up to 50%. The dose to the brainstem and nerve structures of the brain can even be reduced to zero.
Jiří Kubeš, MD, PhD, chief physician and senior consultant of proton therapy
Experts believe that ENT/head and neck tumors are a diagnosis for which proton radiotherapy is very beneficial and the number of patients will continue to grow rapidly.
More and more patients with head and neck cancer are treated with this method in the world and in the Czech Republic. The reasons are a significantly lower dose of radiation delivered to the healthy tissues and organs compared to conventional (photon) radiotherapy, and the related reduction in acute and late-onset side effects.
Michal N. – parotid gland
When Michal was referred for irradiation after parotid tumor surgery, he remembered hearing about proton therapy. He started searching the internet immediately to find specific information about the differences between proton therapy and conventional radiation, which he was scheduled to have. When he mentioned protons to his oncologist, she tried to dissuade him from having proton therapy. She said she would provide the same care by standard conventional irradiation. But Michal says, laughing, that he was prepared: “I knew everything, the risks of affecting healthy tissues and the places that would be hit in my head, I knew about the accuracy of the proton beam, and that the necessary dose of energy could be released exactly at the target marked by the doctor. And then I asked what treatment the doctor would choose if I was her son, and from then on, we talked about proton therapy completely openly; the doctor admitted that proton therapy has its benefits and that these benefits are indeed high in head tumors”.
A sufficient dose of radiation is always needed for tumor destruction. The proton beam can be accurately aimed directly at the tumor to deliver the energy necessary for its destruction. No more radiation is passed behind the tumor. The tissues and organs behind the tumor are preserved.
In the case of conventional radiation, a compromise must be sought. Why? Because the high dose of radiation delivered to the tumor also means higher irradiation of healthy tissues in the vicinity. This can lead to complications and undesirable effects. Limit doses of radiation to individual organs are established, and conventional radiation must seek a compromise between the necessary dose needed to destroy the tumor and the risk of damage to healthy organs.
Proton beam therapy is a safer and more effective treatment compared to conventional radiation therapy. The goal of radiation therapy is to destroy the tumor while protecting the healthy tissues. This can be achieved by proton therapy, unlike conventional irradiation. Conventional radiotherapy always hits a part of the healthy tissue in the surrounding areas, where irradiation is not desirable.
Proton beams can irradiate the tumor while delivering no dose to the corresponding critical organ. A zero dose means a zero risk of adverse reactions. No patient will ever experience such adverse effects. Due to their physical properties, proton beams are able to stop in the tumor, thus significantly reducing the unwanted exposure of healthy tissues and organs.
Some advocates of conventional (photon) radiotherapy sometimes use a “magic formula” of “limit doses” to the critical organs. What does this mean? A patient is told that a limit dose to the critical organs will be observed. This is actually an “agreement” that we are accepting exposure of vital organs to unwanted radiation, but with a certain limit. But the patient is further told that adherence to the “limit dose” is associated with up to a 5% risk of adverse reactions. In addition, the risk increases with time, which means the longer a patient survives after irradiation, the higher the probability of adverse reactions.
Think carefully. The limit dose may not always be safe. And more importantly, safer and easily accessible proton therapy is available to rule out the risk.
The difference is seen with the naked eye in the graphical representation of irradiation plans.
The objective of the treatment is to deliver the required dose of radiation to the tumor (100%). Equally important, however, is not to irradiate the surrounding healthy tissues and organs. These requirements are met by proton therapy, which protects the eyes, brainstem, salivary glands and other important organs. Conventional irradiation, however, would affect them, and the patient is at risk of unpleasant complications.
Treatment performed on an outpatient basis, painless, with no need for hospitalization.
Precise planning is the key and essential requirement for the success of treatment. Therefore, the team of clinical physicists and doctors will prepare a tailored radiation plan for each patient. The irradiation will occur on specific days and times reserved just for you. The irradiation itself takes a few minutes. The total time you will spend in our center should not exceed an hour.
The most important step is to make an appointment and be examined by our doctors. Experienced experts will evaluate your condition and suggest the best procedure.
The initial examination is free of charge, just call +420 222 999 000 to make an appointment or use our contact form.
We have all the necessary instruments for accurate diagnosis under one roof, and you will undergo all the examinations without waiting.
We guarantee the top quality of treatment, and therefore we use the most advanced diagnostic equipment, such as computed tomography (CT scanning), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scanning) and positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography (PET/CT scanning).
Just before the planning, it is necessary to determine the appropriate position in which you will be irradiated and ensure that this position is reproducible, which means the same for each irradiation. Fixation aids are used for this purpose. We use thermoplastic masks, which are precisely shaped after gentle heating. This mask is used for fixation so that tumor targeting is the most accurate.
The result of these examinations is the exact localization of the tumor. To be able to use the proven and clear benefits of proton therapy, i.e. the possibility of perfectly targeting the beam that protects healthy tissue and increases the efficacy of treatment, our experts from the Department of Clinical Physics, together with the doctors will prepare detailed radiation plans tailored to each patient’s needs. This requires three to five days of preparation and the result is a detailed description of the treatment determining the direction and intensity of the proton irradiation beam.
The treatment itself is performed on an outpatient basis. You will come to the Proton Center for regular visits. Before each irradiation, we will carefully review your position and check the radiation plans and all associated data governing the entire irradiation (known as verification). At least once a week, you will have a consultation with your doctor, who will discuss your treatment with you and check your health status.
Proton therapy is an increasingly recognized and preferred method in the world. The advantages are obvious and therefore new and new centers are opened and planned. At present, 71 centers are opened, 42 centers are just before the opening, and dozens more are planned. In visionary terms, we could predict with a relatively high degree of probability that proton beam irradiation will replace now frequently used conventional radiation therapy in the future.
The results and experience of the world’s proton centers also unambiguously confirm that proton therapy opens up entirely new possibilities in the treatment of head and neck tumors and offers patients a chance for a complete cure. Proton therapy can deliver the highest dose of radiation to the tumor, safely and without risks for the surrounding tissues. The added value of proton therapy compared to conventional (photon) therapy is that it spares healthy tissues around the tumor. This protects the neurocognitive functions (intellect, memory, speed of thinking), swallowing function, vision, hearing and speech.
Proton therapy is recommended for head and neck cancer by world authorities, such as ASTRO (American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology) and the Czech professional association SROBF (Association of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics). Proton therapy offers a brand new chance for a cure, even to patients with very poorly treatable tumors located near healthy tissues and with limited radiation tolerance (optic nerve, retina, optic chiasm, brainstem, spinal cord).
It can be used as a radical therapy for localized or locally advanced neoplasms of paranasal sinuses, nasopharynx, and salivary glands, and as an adjuvant or salvage radiotherapy after surgery.
Ask yourself. Ask your doctor.
You have the right to a second opinion.
In practice, this means that your oncologist will certainly not be angry when you ask us whether proton therapy is suitable for you. Because if it is you will get the best possible treatment that is available in the today’s medical science. A treatment with minimum side effects. A treatment with truly excellent results.
Take the first step and write us to make a free appointent. Our doctors will take care of you without any delay.