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News Picks : Proton beam cancer therapy causes fewer severe side effects, says study

By: Physics Today
01 February 2016
Guardian: A new form of radiation therapy for cancer patients is being developed: proton beam therapy. Traditional therapy has involved the use of photon radiation, several beams of which are aimed from different angles to intersect at the cancerous tissue. Because protons have a larger mass, however, they scatter less, and the beam can stay more focused on the tumor, which reduces the toxic side effects to the surrounding, healthy tissue. Following proton-based radiotherapy trials on patients aged 3–21 years with medulloblastoma, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital say the patients experienced less damage to the heart, lungs, and stomach than those who have received traditional photon-based therapy, and the survival rates were similar.


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