Doctors use proton beam therapy to treat cancers that have not metastasized, particularly those around important tissues, as well as child cancer, as this therapy is less likely than other treatments to harm healthy tissue, reports the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Potential treatment applications include lung cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer and eye cancer.
Doctors may also use proton beam therapy to treat spinal and pelvic sarcomas as well as central nervous system cancers such as chondrosarcoma, chordoma and malignant meningioma, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Patients with noncancerous brain tumors, paranasal sinus cancer and nasal cavity cancer may also benefit from the treatment. As of 2015, researchers are studying the effectiveness of proton beam therapy for esophageal cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal cancer and anal cancer.
Proton beam therapy is useful for treating cancers that have not yet spread to other parts of the body because it can be concentrated in a single area, explains the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The treatment allows for higher doses of targeted radiation while reducing the risk of damage to healthy tissue. It may also have fewer side effects than standard radiation treatment. However, proton beam therapy is only available in a small number of medical centers and is more expensive than traditional radiation therapy.