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What is proton therapy?

Proton therapy is a type of external-beam radiation therapy that utilizes protons rather than photons (high energy X-rays) to treat cancer. While the two treatments are similar, the important distinction is that after the protons travel through the patient and reach the tumor, they stop, so there is no exit dose. Your physicians can take advantage of this property to help limit the amount of radiation exposure to healthy tissue and organs while maintaining a maximum dose to the tumor site. 

Why it's done

Proton therapy is effective in treating many types of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors. It may be recommended in the following cases:

  • Childhood cancers of the brain and spinal cord
  • Central nervous system cancers, including chordoma, chondrosarcoma, and malignant meningioma
  • Head and neck cancers, including nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer and some nasopharyngeal cancers
  • Prostate cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Non-cancerous brain tumors

Proton therapy can also be used in combination with chemotherapy, as a follow-up treatment to surgery, and in combination with standard X-ray radiation treatment.

Our approach

Northwell Health Cancer Institute employs an expert team that can understand your particular situation and selects the most appropriate radiation therapy treatment. If you’re a candidate for proton therapy, it will be performed at ProCure Proton Therapy Center, a clinical affiliate of Northwell Health, based in Somerset, New Jersey. Dr. Rajiv Sharma and Dr. Anuj Goenka lead this program. As there are currently no designated proton centers in New York, this is among the closest and most convenient facilities in the New York metropolitan area and one that enables you to stay within the Northwell Health system. ProCure has a number of agreements with local hotels and transportation to make your experience as easy as possible.

Please note, your radiation oncologist will continue to lead your care and will supervise your treatments at the Center. This ensures you receive seamless, state-of-the-art cancer treatment.

Research at Northwell

Advances in radiation oncology are continuously happening at Northwell Cancer Institute. With innovations in radiation therapy technology and techniques, we continue to improve outcomes. Through alliances with leading research organizations, we participate in investigator-initiated trials, to offer the most leading-edge, research-backed therapies to patients.

Northwell Health Cancer Institute is recognized worldwide for its commitment to providing pioneering treatment for cancer patients. The ongoing focus has contributed to significant advancements that are improving the quality of lives and increasing the number of cancer survivors.

Learn more about clinical trials and research happening at Northwell Health Cancer Institute.

Support groups

Cancer is challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. At Northwell Health Cancer Institute, a wide range of support groups are available to help you cope with diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment issues.

Learn more about support groups

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