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Proton therapy for gastrointestinal cancers

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Proton therapy is frequently used to treat cancers in the gastrointestinal tract including pancreatic and liver cancer. Proton therapy can uniquely deposit most of its radiation directly into the tumor while delivering very little irradiation to adjacent normal tissues like the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. This minimizes the risk of damage to these critical gastrointestinal organs, allowing for fewer side effects for patients.


Gastrointestinal cancers we treat with proton radiation therapy include:

  • Anal
  • Bile duct
  • Esophagus
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Rectum
  • Stomach (gastric)
  • Recurrent gastrointestinal tumors
Patients at the New York Proton Center receive Pencil Beam Scanning, a highly sophisticated and most precise type of proton therapy. As the name implies, proton Pencil Beam Scanning uses an extremely narrow beam to “dot” the protons onto the tumor. The process is repeated, layer by layer, like paint applied by the tip of an incredibly fine brush.

Not all proton therapy is created equal

Most proton centers use “volumetric” beams that deliver a fixed quantity of energy to the entire tumor. But the pencil beam scanning technology at the New York Proton Center delivers “intensity-modulated proton therapy,” or IMPT.


Widely considered the most advanced form of proton therapy, IMPT can target different parts of the tumor with different radiation dose levels based on the prescription and tumor’s exact location, while better protecting the surrounding normal tissues from irradiation. That’s particularly valuable when treating the most complicated tumors, those residing in the fissures of the head, neck and skull base.

How can we help?

Want to find out if proton therapy might be a good fit for you or your patient? Call us at 833-NYPROTON (833-697-7686) or fill out the appropriate form below.