The James M. Slater, MD Proton Treatment and Research Center began using proton therapy for lung cancer in the mid-1990s. Teams led by Dr. David A. Bush conducted several clinical studies and followed patients for periods as long as twelve years. Results showed that proton treatment was safe and effective for treating early non-small-cell cancers in either the central parts of the lung or on the lung periphery. Results were published in 2012, in a paper, “High-dose hypofractionated proton beam radiation therapy is safe and effective for central and peripheral early-stage non-small cell lung cancer: results of a 12-year experience at Loma Linda University Medical Center.”

The word, “hypofractionated,” in the title of the paper means “fewer fractions.” At Loma Linda Medical Center, proton radiation therapy is given in larger doses per fraction, over a shorter time; the entire proton treatment is given in two weeks instead of seven, as is usually required for X-ray treatment. Despite the higher dose per fraction, patients do not have increased side effects; in fact, proton radiation therapy is well-known for producing fewer and milder side effects than standard radiotherapy.

Proton Therapy Treatment is an Effective and Desirable Option to Treat Lung Cancer

  • Proton therapy concentrates a high dose in the tumor
  • Proton therapy is more accurate and precise than other kinds of radiation
  • Proton therapy spares healthy normal tissue and nearby organs
  • Proton therapy treatment is noninvasive and painless
  • Recovery times are quick and side effects are minimal
  • Treatment is provided in an outpatient setting

Because of the excellent results seen in their clinical studies, Dr. Bush and his colleagues now offer hypofractionated proton radiation as standard treatment for early-stage, non-small-cell lung cancer. 

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