• Difference between radiation and proton therapy?

    Asked by TajuannaM on Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Difference between radiation and proton therapy?

    I'm about to begin radiation and want to know the differences between proton therapy and radiation. Need to make my decision now

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      The primary difference is that proton therapy is more targeted, so it is generally used in cases where the area to be irradiated is small or difficult to reach such as the eye or to limit the irradiated field in the brain. If radiation is being done after surgical removal of tumor as a precaution or "clean up" of possible remaining cancer cells, then traditional radiation might be a better choice since it generally covers a greater field. I would also check with your insurance company before making a decision. Proton therapy is very expensive and it is likely that your insurance company will not pay for it unless it is medically necessary (i.e. traditional radiation is not an option).

      over 7 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      First let me commend you on asking such a great question. The best patients are those who empower themselves with knowledge. There are different types of radiation, there is external beam radiation which is the most common and is usually administered Mon-Fri with weekends off for about 5 or 6 weeks depending on the tumor burden. There is also IMRT which is given in greater doses to the thickest part of a tumor. Brachytherapy is when radioactive material is placed into the tumor or surrounding area on a temporary or permanent basis. S.R.S. or Steriotactic Radio Surgery, like gamma or cyber knife, is used on tumors that are spherical or ball shaped, 2.5 cm or less and not touching a vital or sensitive nerve or vascular structure. Proton beam is positively charged subatomic particles used to treat a cancer with little harm to the cells in front of or behind the tumor. It is expensive and not many places have the option but if you are considering it then your doctor must have given you that option and I am sure he will get it approved if this is your choice. As Radiation goes, proton is by far better than external beam. I hope this clarifies your choices. Best of luck to you, Carm RN.

      over 7 years ago
    • lchapman2000's Avatar


      This post seems a lot like you are giving medical advice to me. Is this advice based on your medical knowledge in Nutrition? Furthermore, you are giving treatment advice based on what you perceive an insurance company might do!?!? Are you now a medical claims adjuster?? Do you have experience in the insurance field? I will say it again...your posts are dangerous!! Please allow others with the knowledge/experience to answer the questions!!


      Please be careful! Although this site is wonderful for support and encouragement, it can be dangerous to seek treatment advice from other patients. They/we are not medically trained. Just be careful of the source of the information. Many of the sources here do little more than look up the information on Google or WebMD and paste it on here themselves. It is much better to discuss any questions or concerns with your physicians. With that being said, Carm is very knowledgeable. She does have the medical background and experience to address your questions and answer them accurately. She is a reliable source of information. She has worked in many different fields in medicine and is not simply "surfing online" for the answer or giving her opinion. Good luck to you on your journey!! I hope you make the best INFORMED decision for you.

      over 7 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Thank you for the kind words. It is nice to be appreciated and respected for the work I do, Carm RN.

      over 7 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I am not qualified to answer your actual question. However, I would suggest that you discuss your options thoroughly with your Oncologist. Ask this question and any others so that you fully understand the difference to enable you to make an informed decision. We are all different -- with different treatment plans -- and we all react differently to our Treatment Plan. It is hard sometimes to actually answer questions but we can share our experiences -- offer support and friendship. I personally have benefitted greatly from contact with my friends on WhatNext but my Oncologist is my Guide in my battle and through the power of prayer, I have been brought through the "storm". I wish you the very best. Keep us updated.

      over 7 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      I have been suggesting people look into Proton therapy as an option in severla posts. Proton can be used and is being used anywhere in the body. It is very very expensive and so it must be approved prior to treament. You need to know if Proton is even being offered in your area as it only in the major locations now because of the cost and the thing to remeber is that its new. If you can take a targeted therapy with few side effects like a IMRT or SBRT this may be the choice of the Doctor because its tried and true. Whereas a Proton therapy is not as well known yet but it can be just as effective in the right situation with fewer side effects.

      Simply do a google or Bing serch for Proton Therapy in your city. Print the material and bring it with you to your next visit.

      All the best.

      over 7 years ago
    • Jackiegalayda's Avatar

      Please help...I was diagnosed with arinoid cancer head and neck and I am just about to start radiation when I found proton therapy info. I am deathly afraid of side affects of traditional radiation and want to have proton therapy instead. I allied one of the facilities that do it and was told that it would be unethical for them to take over where another doctor was just about to start. I am on a verge of a nervous breakdown because of the side affects I will have to endure with radiation. I don't think I can make it through. How can I convince thr proton place to treat me?????

      over 6 years ago

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