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Treating Head and Neck Cancer with Proton Therapy
The precise nature of proton therapy makes it an excellent option for the treatment of head and neck cancers, including squamous cell carcinoma.
Since proton therapy can deliver highly effective doses of radiation with minimal side effects, the risk of damage to non-cancerous tissue in the head and neck is decreased. Physicians are better able to control the exact point at which the proton beam deposits its energy, so the cancer receives more radiation, while sensitive structures like the jawbone, salivary glands, eyes and spinal cord receive less radiation. This lowers the risk of side effects like bone injury and permanent dryness of the mouth.
Proton therapy is one of the least invasive, and most promising tools in use today – especially for cancers of the head and neck.
When Proton Therapy Is Used to Treat Cancer of the Head and Neck
Proton therapy may be used alone to treat head and neck cancer, or it may be used in conjunction with other therapies – including surgery, traditional radiation, and/or chemotherapy.
Small tumors that have not spread to the lymph nodes in the neck are usually treated with one method (radiotherapy – including proton therapy – or surgery). More advanced head and neck cancers, however, are usually treated with a combination of radiotherapy and surgery – with or without chemotherapy.
Proton therapy for cancer treatment makes particular sense for cancers of the head and neck. Precise doses of radiation mean cancers can be treated more aggressively – with a lower risk of damage to healthy tissue.
Since the anatomy of the head and neck is complex, the best course of treatment is determined by the cancer’s location, the extent of the cancer and the medical condition of the patient. To find out how proton therapy may be able to help you, contact the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute today.