For women and men with breast cancer, conventional treatment poses a risk to the heart and lungs as well as other nearby tissue, muscle and bone—by exposing them to radiation.
For this reason, proton radiation therapy is an increasingly common treatment for breast cancer. Compared to conventional treatment, proton therapy delivers approximately 50 percent less radiation to the lungs and almost no radiation to the heart.
As a result, patients who receive proton therapy for breast cancer are at lower risk of long-term side effects. Specifically, proton therapy reduces the risk of ischemic heart disease, a major problem caused by narrowed arteries, as well as cardiac complications, lung scarring and secondary malignancies. Also, women who receive proton therapy are typically more satisfied by the cosmetic outcome compared to traditional radiation treatment.
Recovery from proton therapy is rapid, generally with very minimal side effects.