What is Proton Radiation?
Radiation oncologists can treat in two major ways: Brachytherapy (implanting radioactive materials in the body) or External Beam Therapy (using high powered equipment to generate beams that penetrate the body from outside). Proton radiation is a form of external beam radiation treatments. What makes the protons different? Protons are positively charged subatomic particles and therefore deposit energy differently than photon (X-ray) beams do. A proton beam is delivered with modulated energy. This means that the amount of radiation can be spread evenly throughout the area of treatment. The modulated energy is also important in assisting the proton beam to various depths in the body. This is best explained in a phenomenon called the “Bragg Peak”, which states that a beam will enter the body and deliver the dose then stop. The majority of the radiation is delivered to the tumor and the healthy tissue is spread. This phenomenon makes proton therapy desirable for tumors nest to critical stru