Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida has used proton Therapy on 500 patients for a variety of hard-to-treat cancers.
Because the 200,000-pound machine allows doctors to target high doses of radiation at the tumour with precision, patients with tumours in the brain, head and neck, spine, breast, lung, esophagus, pancreas, liver, prostate, anal canal and chest are seeing better results and fewer side-effects than other cancer treatment options, according to doctors at the facility.
How does it operate?
The machines direct a proton beam into an area less than a millimetre in diameter to treat tumors that are inoperable, close to critical parts of the body or in difficult locations such as behind the eye or in the anal canal. Small pencil beams of protons are delivered one layer at a time until the entire tumour is treated.
Traditional X-rays penetrate healthy tissue and organs on their way in and out of the body, but protons can target the tumour without that damage. Proton Therapy also creates less change of a recurrence of a cancer from excessive ration exposure.
Physicians like to treat childhood cancers with proton therapy because it reduces the risk of damage to healthy tissue and decreases the odds of other tumours later in life from radiation exposure. Children from nearby Nicklaus Children’s Hospital are being brought to Miami Cancer Institute for proton therapy treatment. Of the 500 patient treated thus far at Miami Cancer institute, 67 have been children. Most patients have been form Florida, with about 5 per cent from outside the United States.
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