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Proton therapy for head and neck tumors

Head and neck cancer here and gone. Read Joseph's story.

Proton therapy can target head and neck tumors with unmatched precision while minimizing irradiation dose to the eyes, optic nerves, vocal cords, salivary glands, mouth, brain, jaw, and other nearby organs and structures. There is less risk of side effects like blindness, hearing loss, dry mouth, trouble swallowing, loss of taste or voice, and other endocrine disorders.


Head and neck cancers we treat with proton radiation therapy include

  • Tonsil, base-of-tongue cancer, oral cavity, and other oropharynx cancers
  • Nasopharynx cancers
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers
  • Throat cancers (nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal)
  • Lacrimal gland cancers
  • Esthesioneuroblastomas
  • Salivary gland cancers
  • Skin with perineural invasion or lymph node metastases
  • Tumors of the eye/orbit
  • Thyroid cancers
  • Recurrent head and neck 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.