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Is Proton Therapy Right for You?

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"Should I get proton therapy?" is a question that my patients often ask me, and you may be thinking about it right now. The short answer is that "it depends." Only you and your oncologist should be making this decision.  

Before deciding IF you should receive proton therapy, you need to know WHAT it is. Proton therapy is a form of external beam radiation that uses particles (i.e. protons) instead of photons (i.e. X-rays) to treat tumors. Both forms of radiation can destroy cancer cells by messing up their genetic blueprint (DNA). This makes it difficult for cancer cells to continue to grow and divide, and they ultimately die.

Lee_Proton_small.jpgIn general, the higher the radiation dose, the better the tumor control will be. However, such high radiation doses  can affect normal tissue near the tumor, which is what we all want to avoid.  

Photons (x-rays) deposit the majority of their dose within the first inch after they hit the skin, and they continue to deposit dose after they reach the tumor.  Hitting a deep tumor with just one or two x-ray beams is hard (that would be like trying to power-wash your driveway with a water pick).  We often need to use many different beams to cover the tumor and this can result in more radiation exposure to normal tissues.  This is where proton therapy has the edge. Protons deposit most of their dose at the tumor and more importantly stop traveling after they hit the tumor. This reduces the radiation dose beyond the tumor, allows the use fewer beams, and subsequently greater sparing of normal tissue.

Proton treatment requires sophisticated machinery and expert professionals to deliver it. The synchrotron will accelerate protons to almost the speed of light for maximal penetration. Inside the synchrotron they may travel 300,000 miles, which is equivalent to circling the earth 12-13 times. The protons are then fed to the treatment gantry, which is a massive 190-ton device that directs the proton beam before it enters the patient. Despite its large size (over 40 feet in diameter), the gantries have a precision of 1mm. We also have a highly trained, dedicated group of professionals who operate and maintain the Proton Therapy Center to ensure that everything works to its best level.

Proton therapy is currently available in only seven centers in North America. M. D. Anderson has one of the largest and technically advanced centers in the world. We have four treatment rooms, including one of the only centers with spot-scanning  (a.k.a. pencil-beam scanning) capabilities.

The first patient was treated with proton therapy at M. D. Anderson on May 4, 2006, and since then we have treated more than 1,700 patients. We have a lot of experience treating patients with lung cancer, esophageal cancer, brain tumors and prostate cancer, as well as various other tumor sites. Also, we're one of the most active centers in the world for treating children  with proton therapy.

Since the Proton Therapy Center is part of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, we can provide our patients not only with outstanding proton therapy but also outstanding cancer therapy.

So, should you receive proton therapy? Please consult with your radiation oncologist or check out our website for more information.

Other Resources

ProtonPals is a support and outreach group for those who choose proton therapy treatment at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Proton Therapy Center 



108 Comments

Can Proton be used for Hodgkins Lymphoma, my son is 48 years old and has been fighting cancer for four years, his white count is very low, he has lost a tremendous amount of weight, the marrow in his bones is depleted, he is trying to fight an infection in his hand right now, his hand is swollen, he is sick and having a hard time swallowing, he is still having chemo but can only have small amounts due to his system being weak, PLEASE can you offer any advice the want to put him in the hospital, but he wont go, he watched his father die of cancer in hospital, and I think he is scared, his doctor told me they are doing everything they can, if you can advise me it would be a blessing, desperate Moher

I am being treated for myeloma at M.D. Anderson and was diagnosed in 2007. After a relapse, I failed another therapy and am in my second trial. I have a painful plasmacytoma in my left iliac and ala. Can proton therapy be used on the plasmacytoma instead of photon xray? I am concerned about potential xray damage ro my decent bone arrow in those large bones, as I need all the RBC and WBC growth medium I can get right now.

Could proton therapy be used on that plasmacytoma and will it spare damage to bone marrow?

Thanks.

Can proton therapy be used for breast cancer 2nd stage instead of chemotherapy. umor is almost 5 cm. Thanks for your reply.

Can proton therapy be used in patients with metastatic cancer to lungs and liver?

Proton therapy may be indicated for metastatic cancer to lungs and liver, but only under very unusual circumstances. In either site, proton therapy would rarely be used for more than one metastasis. If you would like to speak to someone about a specific medical case, call the Proton Therapy Center at 1-866-632-4782 or AskMDAnderson at 1-877-MDA-6789.

Thank you,
Dr. James D. Cox

Proton therapy may be indicated for metastatic cancer to lungs and liver, but only under very unusual circumstances. In either site, proton therapy would rarely be used for more than one metastasis. If you would like to speak to someone about a specific medical case, call the Proton Therapy Center at 1-866-632-4782 or AskMDAnderson at 1-877-MDA-6789.

Thank you,
Dr. James D. Cox

Is proton therapy considered a treatment option for an adult with stage 2 oligodendroglioma brain cancer?

Proton therapy can be used to treat brain tumors and we have done so at M.D. Anderson. Every case is unique and therefore, it is best to be evaluated by a specialist here at MD Anderson to determine if proton therapy is right for a particular case. Please let us know if we can help.
-Andrew K. Lee, MD, MPH

My husband just started radiation (he's on day 3) and I just found your site. He has Stage 4 Glioblastoma. Do you treat Glioblastoma cases and would it be worthwhile to talk about future treatment at your center?

On behalf of the Proton Therapy Team--We are sorry to hear about your husband's diagnosis. To answer your question, we do not typically treat glioblastoma with proton therapy since there is no obvious benefit. Good 3D conformal radiotherapy or IMRT should treat the tumor effectively. We appreciate your interest in the Proton Therapy Center and wish you and your family all the best.

Anita Mahajan, MD

June 2, 2005 Dr. Lang at MD Anderson removed a grade 2-3 astrocytoma tumor from my occipital lobe. Dr. Edward Shaw then treated the area around the cavity with radiation at Wafe Forest Baptist late 2005. I just received the news from Wake on September 13 that the cancer has returned in the form of tentacles around the original tumor site. Ironically, I was just relocated to Dallas with work 8 months ago. I will meet with Dr. Mark Gilbert at MD Anderson on October 10, 2011 to discuss options. I want to get a jump start and ask the question, "Am I a candidate for proton threapy since I have undergone radiation already in 2005?" Thanks and I know I'm in great hands at MD Anderson!

On behalf of the Proton Therapy Team-- In these situations the advantage of protons is decreasing the dose to the distant brain. However, there is no advantage over standard photons for the previously radiated surrounding brain as this area will need to be treated with radiation (and this is where the high risk is). The first question in this situation is there a role for further surgery and is there a role for chemotherapy? Those always come before considering re-irradiation. Thankfully you are seeing one of the world's experts, Dr. Gilbert, in October to help you sort through your options (and if there is any role for re-irradiation). I hope this is helpful.

Paul Brown, M.D., Professor and Co-Section Chief CNS/Peds, Dept. of Radiation Oncology

Hi, my father was recently diagnosed with prostrate cancer. His PSA#s and Gleason are both low and the cancer is localized. We are considering the many options available. Urologists at The Cleveland Clinic have discourage the use of proton therapy because it is still very investigational with more side effects than other forms of XRT. I have also heard that it is not approved for prostate and that there is very little long term data. Any info regarding these issues would be so greatly appreciated.

We're sorry to hear about your father's diagnosis.
Thankfully, there are many good treatment options available with high success rates.
Proton therapy has been shown in prospective randomized trials w/ nearly 9 years of followup to have very good disease control rates with low side effects.
In fact, proton therapy has been used longer to treat prostate cancer in the U.S. than the more commonly availably IMRT.
It is neither investigational nor experimental.
Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
-Regards, Andrew Lee, MD, MPH (Director, Proton Therapy Center)



I am a retired Gyne-Oncologist, Former Head of the Gyne-Oncology Division at the Carmel Medical Center.
My grandson 11 years old was recently diagnosed to have a grade 4 pons Glyoma at the brainstem that according to the MRI is a non resectable cancer tumor. The Neurosurgeons referred us to the Pediatric oncology center at the Rambam institute for Photon radiation therapy that is due to start next week by fragmented dosed 5 times a week for 8 weeks. According to them this will be palliative treatment with no chances to cure.
My question is if the Proton radiation therapy will be a better treatment option for my grandson and what are his chances to achieve a cure
Do you have any experience with such a case,length of treatment and results.
Thanks for your consideration.
Dr Jack Atad
Haifa
Israel
please respond to my email address as follow:
atadjack@inter.net.il

Hi, I want to know if I will be a candidate for Proton trx or other trx. On August, 2007, I started having sudden severe neck pain without any injury. Had seen Ortho, Physical therapist, Sport medicine, Ortho/Neuro, Neurologist, Neuro/Oncologist, and even steroids injections to my knees, shoulders and neck but to no avail. In February, 2011, an MRI of the C-spine with/without contrast revealed ? Astrocytoma between C4 and C5.
Had been seen in these three Hospitals - Wellstar Health System, Emory Hospital ( both in Atlanta ) and Duke University in North Carolina by their renowned Physicians but none could help me. I have had numerous repeated tests/procedures ( LPs ), but still no definite diagnosis. I am waiting to be schedule a PET Scan at Duke, since there will no biopsy because of the site of the Lesion. Please I really need help and someone who can help me will be highly appreciated. Thanks. Kate.

On behalf of the Proton Therapy team --
Yes, you likely would be a good candidate for proton therapy. However, before proceeding with proton therapy, we would ask that you be seen by our neurosurgical team at MD Anderson Cancer Center as well. You can contact the askMDAnderson office at 1-877-MDA-6789 to make an appointment or to speak with someone directly about any additional questions you may have.
Thank you,
Dr. David Grosshans

My brother was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer Feb. 2011 and had chemotherapy and radiation treatment a recent bone scan showed that the cancer had metastasized to his bones. Is he a candidate for proton therapy?

On behalf of the Proton Therapy team --

Mr. Hammoud,

My name is Daniel Gomez, and I am one of the radiation oncologists specializing in lung cancer at the proton center.

To answer your question, generally proton therapy is not utilized in this setting of metastatic small cell lung cancer to the bones. However, if you would like full evaluation of your brother’s case, I would recommend that you contact the proton therapy center directly at: 1-866-632-4PTC, and they will request further information.

Please feel free to ask me any further questions that you may have.

Thanks,
Daniel

My daughter has recently been Diagnosed with Adenoid cystic cancer. I have read that the proton radiation is better for this type. Can you please comment? Thanks

My 81 year old father was recently diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. We do not know as of yet, if the tumor has spread, etc. Would he be a good candidate for the proton therapy?

Thanks.
Gaylynn

My dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer (squamous cell) a couple of weeks ago. He has just finished radiation to the tumor this week...and I just found your site on proton therapy. Is proton therapy a possibility when you have already had previous radiation therapy? Also, can it be used on spots where it has spread?

Thank you,

Shanna

My husband has gone through four different types of chemotherapy and had six weeks of radiation at MD Anderson in August. He has a recurring dendritic follicular sarcoma encapsulated around the portal vein. The center of his tumor died, but the rim remained active. In December, the uptake from the PET scan was 12. Last week, it was 85. Needless to say we were crushed the tumor was growing again. It measures 12.7 cm now. I realize he had an extremely high dose of radiation before, but is the proton therapy in any way a possibility now? Would it be considered too much radiation or is this a different type of radiation we might possibly consider? Thank you so much.
Kim

My husband has been diagnosed with Stage 3-A lung cancer with 2 lymph nodes involved. There appears to be no other metastasis according the PET Scan. Is proton radiation a possibility for this condition?

My 22 year old daughter has astrocytoma..she has had 2 resections. Her life has not changed much so far, other than afternoon drowsiness from the seizure meds. No radiation or chemo has been used. Could Proton radiation used for her cancer? What other options would MDA offer?
Thanks,
DH

On behalf of the Proton Therapy Team: I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's diagnosis. We have seen great results treating adenoid cystic cancers with proton therapy. I encourage you to contact our Proton Therapy Center at proton@mdanderson.org or 1-866-632-4782 to speak to a member of our staff about your daughter's specific case. You can also learn more about proton therapy at www.mdanderson.org/proton. All the best to you and your daughter. -Steven Frank, MD

I was searching for information and came across your website. My son has a pineal germinoma which was treated with 8 weeks of chemotherapy and then stereotactic radiosurgery. Initially the outcome was good and the tumour shrank to virtually nothing. But a year later it has started to grow again and we have been told that this time it will be much more difficult to treat. Would Proton therapy be beneficial in the treatment of this tumour. We live in the UK but I have heard that proton therapy is going to be introduced to 3 centres here soon.
Thanks,
Suzanne

Hello there,
My 80 year old vivacious father was just diagnosed with cancer. He has two tumors located on the left lung, about 1/2 inch in size. 3 xrays, a CT scan, a biopsy was taken. This Saturday will be the Pet Scan. There is pleural effusion. We are waiting for staging after the PET scan.

Would Proton Therapy help? He is precious and I appreciate any guidance for options that MDA offers.

Many many thanks,
Sharon

Please can you advise, We live in the UK and Proton Therapy is not available. My Husband aged 44 was diagnosed Sept 11 with Stage 4 Colon Cancer with Mets to his Liver and Lungs, his CEA marker at that time was 1052 , six months on that has been reduced now to 29. He has had 12 cycles of Chemo, 5FU plus avastin and early scan results show a reduction in all tumour sites. We await a meeting with our consultant next week to discuss the next treatment plan, my question to you is would Proton Therapy be a viable option for his type of Cancer. Would very much appreciate your reply. Kindest regards.

I was just diagnosed with an optic nerve sheath meningioma. In researching treatment, I came across proton therapy. Is this form of radiation better for treatment than the photon? I am due to see a radiation oncologist and neurosurgeon next week. I have also requested an appointment but would like to know if this is more of the recommended treatment as I begin planning and weighing treatment options.

Thank you for replying!
MD Harris

Hello, Have a quick question. I have just received a diagnosis of non small cell ling cancer-adenocarcinoma two weeks ago. I met with my oncologists and he believes that Tarceva will be the best program. I meet with him on 4-26-12 to review PET scan and discuss dosages, etc. Was wondering if the Proton Therapy might be an effective treatment for my condition? This is all very new to me and am just beginning to search for what treatments are available. Thank you for your time and any information you might share.
Bob Walker

I have been diagnosed with metastasized head and neck cancer. No recurrence in the head neck area. There are two small (7-8mm) lesions on the lung and several small lesions on bones (spine, ribs, scapula, sacrum, pelvis). The one on the pelvis is the only large one at 3cm. Would Proton Therapy be an option?

I was diagnosed with B Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in Oct. 2011, which was first found in my eye and then after a PET Scan, was found to also be in my lungs and stomach. I have had 11 treatments of Rituxan since that time and the cancer is still active. Would I be a candidate for Proton Therapy? Thanks. Pam

On behalf of the Proton Therapy Team.

"Hi Pam, Thank you for your interest in proton therapy. With the information you provided, you most likely are not a candidate for proton therapy. However, you may benefit from radiation therapy using other techniques. I encourage you to reach out to askMDAnderson at 1-877-MDA-6789 or online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html to speak to a health information specialist who will help guide you to the appropriate center within MD Anderson. Best of luck to you, James D. Cox, M.D."

My dad is diagnosed in 6/2012 with squamous cell cancer in his right tonsil ramnant (primary tumor about 1 cm) with involvement in one ipsilateral lymnode (about 4 cm) per PET scan and biopsies. Would he be a candidate for proton therapy?

If you or someone you know is interested in proton therapy we suggest contacting askMDAnderson at 1-877-MDA-6789 or online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html to speak to a health information specialist who will help guide you to the appropriate center within MD Anderson.

You may also contact the Proton Therapy Center at proton@mdanderson.org or 1-866-632-4782 to speak to a member of the staff. You can also learn more about proton therapy at http://www.mdanderson.org/proton.

My mom just found out that the lung cancer she had 4 years ago is back. The spot is about the size of a golf ball. She has severe COPD and other health issues. She had throat cancer about 10 years ago. She has never had chemo, only radiation. She was told she could not have radiation twice in the same spot. Her doctors want to do a very low dose of chemo and low dose radiation now. Would she be a possible candidate for proton therapy or is she not able to have it because of her prior radiation in the same spot?

I am sorry to hear about your mother’s diagnosis. Proton therapy may be an option for her. However, we need to review all her previous radiation fields and doses which she received.
We encourage you to contact the Proton Therapy Center toll free at 1-866-632-4782 to speak with one of our patient access coordinators. I wish you and your mother the best.
Dr. Ritsuko Komaki

My wife has breast cancer (IDC) and is currently completing #7 of 8 chemotherapy treatments. In early October she will have a full mastectomy and soon thereafter begin radiation. At the time of her diagnosis she was diagnosed as stage II; as per the oncologist her left breast was "almost fully involved" and there was some spread to lymph nodes. She is responding well to the chemotherapy. Obviously we are concerned that the radiation treatment be as accurate and precise as possible to lessen risk of recurrence and to avoid damage to surrounding tissue and organs. Would proton therapy be a better option than traditional photon therapy? We will be taking this up with her oncologist as well. We are in San Antonio. Thank you.

Hello. Proton therapy may be an option for your wife. However, we need to review all her previous radiation fields and doses which she received.
We encourage you to contact the Proton Therapy Center toll free at 1-866-632-4782 to speak with one of our patient access coordinators.
Best wishes to you and your family.

My husband has Stage IV colon cancer with mets to his liver and lungs. He had it three years ago and had surgery and three rounds of chemo. At that time they said he was cancer free.

Now its back with a vengence. He has one large tumor and two smaller ones on his liver. We've been told it is inoperable and it's too late for chemo. Prognosis 6-18 mos. hes in pallitive hospice but we are prepared to leave that if there is treatment available. He does not want chemo again.

He is now jaundiced and his liver and cancer numbers are steadily rising. His Cancer number is now at 3500, with low red blood cells, etc. Is he a candidate for proton therapy? What about nano treatment? Thank you. We don't have much hope as he is declining right in front of our eyes. Thank you.

Please advise if proton therapy may be a good option for my Cousin , 66 year old male , diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Feb, 2011. Bone marrow aspiration showing 40% atypical lymphocytes, CD 20 +ve , CD45 +ve . He received Rituximab-CHOP therapy for complete one year and but on follow-up was found was found to develop nodules in anterior abdominal wall left upper quadrant ( size 3 by 2 cm) and right lumbar region ( size 2 by 2 cm ) . FNAC of the nodules in august 2012 showed atypical lymphoid infiltrates and excision Biopsy in September 2012 was consistent with Mantle Cell Lymphoma ( Relapse ) with immunohistochemistry CD20 +ve , cyclinD +ve and Ki67 up to 80 % . The patient is waiting for me to find information from you if Proton therapy will be of any significant value for him. Thanks

Dr. Khan, unfortunately we cannot give second opinions or provide specific treatment recommendations through this correspondence. Please contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson. Just call 1-877-MDA-6789 or submit your question online.

Does MD Anderson offer PROTON therapy for the prostate, margins and the pelvic floor for high risk, aggressive prostate cancer? ( 12 of 16 positive cores with four 4+3 and four 4+4 )

MRI suspicious of positive margins, but Carbon -11 PET/CT scan revealed no matastis out side of prostate.

Hi Ram, we cannot give second opinions or provide specific treatment recommendations through this correspondence. Please contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson by calling 1-877-MDA-6789 or submitting your question online.

My wife has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. She's been on Abraxane for a few months; a few areas have shown some improvement. Many are stabile. However, a CT scan on Nov 2nd compared with August 11th showed significant increase in size in three masses within her liver. Can proton therapy be useful in her case?

Hi Geof, we cannot give second opinions or provide specific treatment recommendations through this correspondence. Please contact our Health Information Specialists at askMDAnderson by calling 1-877-MDA-6789 or submitting your question online. The link is included-> http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html

Hi, my brother was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer
(adenocarcinoma). He's had chemo, a stent, a port, blood transfusions & has had fluid drained from the heart & lung. He can no longer get chemo due to the cancer spreading to the lung, lymph nodes, liver, glands & is also too weak. He is currently under home hospice. Is it possible he can handle Proton Therapy? He wants to do SOMETHING.... ANYTHING OTHER THAN getting meds!!
Any advice out there of what to do?

Sincerely,
Lisa

Hi Lisa, we cannot provide second opinions or give treatment recommendations through this correspondence. Please contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson by calling 1-877-MDA-6789 or visiting them online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html. Our knowledgeable staff will listen to your questions and help you understand cancer, make decisions about your care and communicate with your health care team.

My 91 year old mother was diagnosed with a lower rectal cancer (adenoma). Pet scan shows no spread and lymph nodes clear. She has a port cath for intermittent chemo via pump and is starting her second week of daily radiation treatments. Would she be a candidate for proton therapy? I am concerned about the side effects of the traditional radiation treatments. If so, can a patient stop the radiation treatments and transition to proton therapy? She has had 8 radiation treatments and is scheduled for 25 to 28. Thank you for any information you can provide. Tara

Hi Tara, we're sorry to hear about your mother. Unfortunately we cannot give treatment recommendations or provide second opinions through this correspondence. Please if you would like full evaluation of your mother’s case, I would recommend that you contact the proton therapy center directly at: 1-866-632-4PTC, and they will request further information. You may also wish to contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson by calling 1-877-MDA-6789 or visiting them online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html. Our knowledgeable staff will listen to your questions and help you make decisions about your care.

My mom 72, was diagnosed with a 4,5cm by 3,5 large adenoma carcinoma in the Sinus Ethmoid reaching the medial sinus wall of the right Sinus Maxillary. It has not metastasized. She already lost 8kg due to stress and though she is in great shape, very healthy, she has very little muscle mass. Would protons be a better and less debilitating therapy for her after surgery? We need her to stay alive and be well for a long time! I have scans if that would help. Best Michelle.

Hi Enelam, we're sorry to hear about your mother. Unfortunately we cannot give treatment recommendations or provide second opinions through this correspondence. If you would like a full evaluation of your mother’s case, I would recommend that you contact the proton therapy center directly at: 1-866-632-4PTC, and they will request further information. You may also wish to contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson by calling 1-877-MDA-6789 or visiting them online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html. Our knowledgeable staff will listen to your questions and help you make decisions about your care. Best wishes!

hello, my dad is in the hospital now and his over 80 years old. He have a prostate cancer which the doctor is recommending chemotherapy is the best because i guess they said its stage 4 now the cancer is spreading thru urethra. but i guess its still spreading, i don't know if my father is still candidate for proton therapy because of his age but his condition is ok he don't have any other disease just prostate. Please let me know if he still be candidate for proton therapy cause the doctor said he can't coz his age. Thanks.

Hi Finding Nimo. We're sorry to hear about your father. Unfortunately we cannot give treatment recommendations or provide second opinions through this correspondence. If you would like a full evaluation of your father’s case, I would recommend that you contact the proton therapy center directly at: 1-866-632-4PTC, and they will request further information. You may also wish to contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson by calling 1-877-MDA-6789 or visiting them online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html. Our knowledgeable staff will listen to your questions and help you make decisions about your care. Best wishes!

Hi i am from india my husband has stage lv lung cancer . he had it 1 yr and the chemo therapy doesn't works if proton therapy or other treatment is possible ? plzz adivece u

Hello, we are sorry to hear about your husband. We cannot give treatment recommendations or provide second opinions through this correspondence. If you would like a full evaluation of your husband’s case, I would recommend that you contact the proton therapy center directly at: 1-866-632-4PTC, and they will request further information. You may also wish to contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson by calling 1-877-MDA-6789 or visiting them online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html. Our knowledgeable staff will listen to your questions and help you make decisions about your care. Thank you and best wishes.

Hi,
I live in Florida and was diagnosed with extra-adrenal phiochromocytoma(asymptomatic) about 7.5cm in the right retroperitoneal area located between the head of the pancreas and the right kidney. I had it surgically removed at moffitt cancer center, also 5 adjacent lymph nodes, two of which tested positive for the cell and accordingly the doctor wants me to get some radiation therapy for the surgical bed area and surrounding tissues but mentioned that the right kidney might be compromised. I been searching for alternative therapies like proton therapy or PRRT.
will proton therapy work for me and is it covered by insurance? please answer me ASAP as I'm going to the radiation doctor on Fri

Hi G.R. Ibrahim. Unfortunately we cannot give treatment recommendations or provide second opinions through this correspondence. If you would like a full evaluation of your case, please contact the proton therapy center directly at: 1-866-632-4PTC, and they will request further information. You may also wish to contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson by calling 1-877-MDA-6789 or visiting them online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html. Our knowledgeable staff will listen to your questions and help you make decisions about your care. Thank you and best wishes.

My husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 large B-cell non Hodgkin lymphoma, with tumors being found on his liver and stomach AND non alcoholic cirrhosis, he has taken one round of the R-chop chemo and scheduled for his second round next week. our problem is that the liver doctor for the cirrhosis says that the chemo will cause his cirrhosis to get to the dangerous level where we would have to stop the chemo, but if we stop the chemo, the lymphoma will continue to grow and spread,,,we have been told that the proton therapy might be the answer for him, with just reading this, short summery,what do you think?

Hi Kim. We are sorry to hear about your husband. We cannot give treatment recommendations or provide second opinions through this correspondence. If you would like a full evaluation of your husband’s case, I would recommend that you contact the proton therapy center directly at: 1-866-632-4PTC, and they will request further information. You may also wish to contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson by calling 1-877-MDA-6789 or visiting them online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html. Our knowledgeable staff will listen to your questions and help you make decisions about your care. Thank you and best wishes.

My husband had adenoid cystic carcinoma diagnosed and removed from his upper lip five years ago. We recently discovered it has metastasized in three places in his lungs. Is proton therapy an option for tumors of this nature in the lungs? Does MD Anderson have radiation oncologists with experience in AdCC?

Hello, we're sorry to hear about your husband. Unfortunately, we cannot give treatment recommendations or provide second opinions through this correspondence. If you would like a full evaluation of your husband’s case, I would recommend that you contact the proton therapy center directly at: 1-866-632-4782, and they will request further information. You may also wish to contact our Health Information Specialists at Ask MD Anderson by calling 1-877-632-6789 or visiting them online at http://www.mdanderson.org/contact-us/askmdanderson/index.html. Our knowledgeable staff will listen to your questions and help you make decisions about your care. Thank you and best wishes.

My 7 year old daughter was diagnosed with a GBM stage 4 brain tumor on the lower section of her brain stem in March 2011. She had 6 wks of radiation.

Her last MRI showed there was NO regrowth at the original tumor site, but there was a mass found in T9-T10, pushing against her spinal cord. This tumor has not had a biopsy. The edges were very well defined.

Could Proton Therapy be a possible treatment option for her?


Hi, thanks for your question. We cannot provide medical advice online, but you can contact our Proton Therapy Center at 1-866-632-4782. Here's a link to the center's site for more information: http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/proton-therapy-center/index.html. There's also an online for you can fill out to ask a question. Best wishes to you and your daughter.

My mom (69 years old) has just been diagnosed with lung / liver cancer. Both individual cancers with Hep B & C as well. The lung tumor measures 6.6 x 7.8 x 10cm and treatment is being discussed as to which type. I am extremely impressed w/the Proton Therapy because the side effects from radiation seem extreme and I'm afraid the treatment will kill her before the cancer does.

Our doctor is consulting w/the lung conference on Tuesday and then deciding my mom's treatment plan. The tumor is located very close to her back (thus the reason for extreme back pain over past few years).....her fatigue is already overwhelming and weight loss in the past has been a factor. So we are basically "beefing up" to get ready for treatment to start in a couple of weeks.

I was curious, with a tumor that big in the lung near the back, would she be a strong candidate for this treatment?

Thank you for your response.

Hi, thanks for writing. Please contact our Proton Therapy Center at 1-866-632-4782, for a response to your question. Here's a link for more information: http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/proton-therapy-center/index.html

My brother will be starting this therapy soon for his lung cancer, what is the percentage rate that this will work for him? he also has a spot on his adrenal gland, can this type therapy be used for this? He as already taken full & low dose chemo, but the tumor seems to be growing back.

Thanks,
Janice Chambers

Have Anaplastic Astrocytoma grade: WHO 3 in brain, right side cerebral. Diagnosed yesterday. No treatment as of yet. Looking into Proton Therapy for this. Proton Therapy could be used for this in motor cortex because that is where mine is at.

I'm so sorry to hear that. Here is some more information about the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center: http://bit.ly/17DUibk.

For more information or to set up an appointment, call 1-877-632-6789. Best wishes.

My son of 20 has completed his chemo plan and will soon go through a bone marrow transplant. The remaining tumor was removed but still has microscopic cells of cancer remaining. Is Proton Radiation still necessary after a BMT? If so when is the best time in relation to the BMT recovery?
Thanks

We’re so sorry to hear about your son. Please contact our Proton Therapy Center at 1-866-632-4782 to get answers to these and other questions and, if you’re interested, schedule an appointment.

You can learn more about our Proton Therapy Center and the benefits of proton therapy at the following link: http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/proton-therapy-center/index.html

Best wishes to you and your family.

My husband is on his 4 session of chemo. He has two more to go. We are trying to make a decision on having XMRT or proton treatment. We want to weigh both treatments. His diagnosis is T2 N2b M0,HPV positive. What is your experience with this cancer in Proton therapy. Is this a cancer that can be treated with Proton therapy.? Thk you

Hi Barbara, we're so sorry to hear about your husband. It sounds like he has been through so much. He's in our thoughts and prayers. Please call 877-632-6789. They will be able to answer your questions.

My wife was diagnosed with a Uterine MMMT one year ago. Despite sandwiched chemo and radiation it is in lung next to aorta, esophagus, stomach. Our doc in Louisville consulted with Dr. Gershenson and another series of chemo was agreed on since area not good for strong radiation or surgery as yet. When is proton therapy feasible and how to determine if is?

I'm so sorry to hear this. It sounds like your wife has been through so much. When it comes to proton therapy, it's best to ask your doctor about it. Cancer treatment is different for each patient. Your wife is in our thoughts and prayers.

Hi, my wife has stage 4 breast cancer. She is responding well to chemo and she has never had radiation therapy. My question is, is radiation (photon) always done first prior to proton therapy, or is there the option to go right into proton therapy without doing radiation?

Hi Bruce, please call our health information specialists at 1-877-632-6789. Your wife is in our thoughts and prayers.

Good Day...., I would to ask you about the proton therapy and benign brain tumor. My grandmother (69 years old) is a breast cancer for almost 14 years. And now, she is diagnosed last April 23, 2013 of brain benign tumor with the size of 6.0cm X 4.9cm. The Oncologist suggest to perform the brain surgery to remove the tumor of her left side of brain. But my grandmother afraid the risk after the surgery. So, the Oncologist give her a 20 days/session of Whole Brain Radiation Therapy. And she is now maintaining Keppra twice a day to reduce or stop the seizure. My concern about this matter, I would like to know if my grandmother is good candidate for proton therapy? Can proton therapy be useful in her case or Could Proton Therapy be a possible treatment option for her? Any advice out there of what to do?

Please help us..,

Gameboy from Philippines

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Please contact our International Center. They will be able to answer your questions: http://bit.ly/1hJbyjc

Hi

My 58 y.o. brother has non resectable cholangiocarcinoma and has done well with 3 Yttrium 90 treatments.........is there benefit for this tumor control with Proton Therapy? Thank you.

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Please call 1-877-632-6789 to speak to an MD Anderson health information specialists. They can answer questions about proton therapy and help your brother set up an appointment. Thank you.

hello i have tongue base cancer that is a T1 and i would to know if proton therapy would be good for someone like me insteady of regular radition thank you allen

I'm so sorry to hear this, Allen. It's best to talk to your doctor about this. You can also call our health information specialists at 1-877-632-6789. They can tell you more about proton therapy and help you schedule an appointment. You're in our thoughts and prayers.

Hi. My 72-year-old sister has just been diagnosed with base-of-tongue, both sides, cancer which has metastasized to multiple lymph nodes. The mass measures 3.7 x 4.39 cm and extends into the left paraoropharyngeal space with loss of fat plane. Mass is centered at the level of the tonsillar pillar...compression of airway at oropharynx, compression of left piriform sinus...mass extends to supraglottic airway (compressing airway). She is grasping for hope, of course, but as extensive and progressed as her condition is, would proton therapy even be an option? She is on Medicare and a government-assisted supplement. Would this therapy even be covered by this? I know you cannot offer definitive advice, but if this is not an option for her, I really need to help her prepare. Thank you sincerely.

My brother was just diagnosed with a astroplastic astrocytoma. Would proton therapy be beneficial? They were able to do a biopsy but that is all they could remove. Thank you!

We're so sorry to hear this. It's best to talk to a doctor about this, but you can call 1-877-632-6789 to speak to one of our health information specialists. They can answer any of your questions about proton therapy or help your brother schedule an appointment. Please let us know if you need anything else. Your brother is in our thoughts and prayers.

Hi Jonnie, we're so sorry to hear about your sister. It's best to speak to a doctor about this. You can call our health information specialists for more information or to set up an appointment. They can be reached at 1-877-632-6789. Your sister is in our thoughts and prayers.


My husband has recently been diagnosed with PCU. He is at MDA. At this time his billierubin has gone up and they just put a catheter in to open the duct and hopefully get his count down so he can start chemo treatment. Is Proton Therapy a treatment an option for him?

Hi,

My mother has NET in the neck of the pancreas, with secondary on the liver (large number of very small tumors almost all over the liver).
Can Proton Therapy be beneficial to her ?

Thanks

We're so sorry to hear about your mom. It's best to talk to a doctor because every case is different. You're welcome to call our health information specialists to learn more about proton therapy. They can be reached at 1-877-632-6789. Best wishes.

Your husband is in our thoughts and prayers. We recommend asking your doctor about this. Every case is different.

Hello,

Have you treated anal cancer (squamous cell) with proton therapy? I have just received word that I have this and I am mortified at the prospect of the rigors of chemo and the possibility of a colostomy. I only know that its malignant at this point.

Corinne

We're so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, Corinne. Please call 1-877-632-6789 to speak with one of our health information specialists. They can answer your questions. You're in our thoughts and prayers.

I'm about to begin IMRT radiation treatment In Sydney, Australia for nsclc adinocarcinoma non-squamos stage lllB. I have a tumour in my upper R lung center, one lymph node in my neck, a few lymph in my upper R chest, and a few in the center of my chest next to the tumor and pressing on my windpipe, giving me a terrible cough. I was diagnosed in April 2013, and chemo has mostly failed to clear it, but seems to have slowed the spread.

We do not have Proton radiation here in Australia.

Do you think I'd be better off switching now to arrange to have proton radiation in Houston, or in my case is IMRT radiation just as safe and effective?

Every case is different, so it's better to talk to a doctor. For more information, please visit our International Center. http://bit.ly/WaGxM7 You're in our thoughts and prayers.

My husband was just diagnosed with HPV left tonsil cancer with one node involvement. The tonsil was removed surgically. Would he be a candidate for proton therapy?

Please call 1-877-632-6789 to speak with our medical specialists. Your husband is in our thoughts and prayers.

My 5 year old son has been diagnosed with level one brain stem glioma. It has not reached the pons. Is mainly in the madula oblongata area. Size is approximately 43x23x21mm
It is not Dipg. Can these moderate brainstem gliomas be treated with proton therapy.

We're so sorry to hear this, Alu. Your son is in our thoughts and prayers. Please call 1-877-632-6789. They can give you more information about proton therapy.

Just diagnosed with HPV-Positive SCC Oropharyngeal primary cancer in the right tonsil area at City of Hope. Is proton therapy a possibility instead of standard radiation.No treatment has started as yet.

We're so sorry to hear this. Treatment varies from case to case, so it's best to talk to your doctor about this. If you have more questions about proton therapy please call 1-877-632-3789 to speak with a health information specialists. You're in our thoughts and prayers.

Pencil beam Intensity modulated Proton Therapy appears to be a big step-up from the older equiptment installed in places like Loma Linda or Jacksonville, FL. My question: is this new technology being used to treat Stage 1 prostate cancer? And if so, is the length of treatment (#days) reduced as a result?
Thanks so much
Mike
Cape Coral, FL

MD Anderson is currently conducting clinical trials using IMPT to treat prostate cancer. For more information, please call our health information specialists, 1-877-632-6789.

Hello, my brother has been diagnosed with Stage IV Esophageal Cancer. The first biopsy of his esophageal tumor showed 8 negative biopsies. However a PET scan shows Stage IV. What is odd is my brother looks and feels great, but is having difficult swallowing. Could he come to MD Anderson for a 2nd opinion? The doctors in Dallas are suggesting traditional radiation to shrink his esophageal tumor to improve his quality of life, but could the less damaging MD Anderson Proton Therapy be used in a Stage IV to shrink his esophageal tumor? Thanks for any comments or suggestions.

Hi Zep, we're so sorry to hear about your brother. He's in our thoughts and prayers. Please call 1-866-632-6789 to speak to one of our health information specialists or to schedule an appointment for a second opinion.

Thank You Kellie Bramlet. I attempted to call the number you provided (1-866-632-6789) and it says to enter a "Pass Code". I do not have a "Pass Code". Please advise on what I should do. Many Thanks.

I'm very sorry, Zep. There was a typo in the number I gave you. Please call 1-877-632-6789.

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