Proton therapy can effectively treat complex head and neck tumors while at the same time minimizing the dose of radiation for such vital organs as the eyes, mouth and brain. Due to this, the most important physical functions - vision, smell, taste and swallowing - remain unaffected when the patient undergoes a course of treatment. Proton therapy is indicated for cancers of the following locations:
- nasal and sinus cavities
- oral cavity, including salivary glands, tongue and amygdala
- base of skull
- spinal cord
Proton therapy with modulated intensity or a pencil beam scan is indicated for many patients with head and neck cancer. This advanced technology used in some proton centers in the world, including - in the MIBS center. The technology of "pencil" scanning is based on complex treatment planning systems and multiple magnets, which direct a narrow proton beam, effectively, "painting" the dose of radiation layer by layer. A highly targeted beam of protons moves along the vertical and horizontal axes, like the tip of a pencil "painting" the entire tumor. In the process of beam movement, its intensity is modulated. Radiation of the maximum permissible intensity is delivered exactly into cancer cells, while sparing the healthy tissues of important organs located in critical proximity to the pathology zone.
As a result of the treatment of head and neck oncology, standard methods of radiotherapy in 60% of patients require the introduction of a feeding tube. Proton therapy with modulated intensity makes it possible to avoid this because of less damage to the oral cavity.
Proton therapy also reduces side effects, such as nausea, damage to the salivary glands, loss of taste or endocrine disorders. This allows patients to better maintain their weight and water balance in the body, contributes to a favorable outcome of treatment and significantly improves the quality of life during and after cancer treatment.
Procedures usually take from 15 to 30 minutes every day and are held five times a week. The course lasts from 4 to 7 weeks. In some cases, one or more procedures are sufficient. Hospitalization is not required. Most patients tolerate proton therapy exceptionally well and continue to work and exercise during and immediately after treatment.