Proton therapy for certain cancers can cut side effects

Precisely targeting and limiting radiation dosing through proton therapy can cut side effects for pediatric patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer.

In a study performed by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, pediatric patients were treated with proton therapy. After a median of 13 months of treatment, 19 of the patients had no evidence of disease, three developed local recurrence, five had tumors that appeared to be stable, and one died of cancer. These outcomes, the researchers noted, were generally what was to be expected with more traditional X-ray treatment.

However, the side effects associated with the treatment were markedly reduced, with no high-grade toxicity. The most common side effects were fatigue and dermatitis. Other common side effects of radiation therapy such as weight loss and nutritional issues, were found to be only a mild concern for patients in the study. Article


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