COVID-19 Update: Learn how New York Proton Center is taking all the necessary precautions to keep you safe.

Proton therapy for lung and thoracic tumors

Career-saving lung cancer therapy. Meet Gil.

When lung cancer is treated with conventional radiation, it is difficult to deliver a high enough radiation dose to control the cancer without also damaging the normal lungs, esophagus, heart and spinal cord.


Proton therapy can more effectively treat these tumors—particularly larger ones— while better protecting critical structures from radiation. As a result, protons can minimize side effects such as lung inflammation (pneumonitis) or scarring (fibrosis), difficulty swallowing, heart complications, hospitalizations, and other side effects that are commonly seen with conventional lung cancer treatment.


Lung and thoracic cancers we treat with proton radiation therapy include

  • Non-small lung cancer
  • Small cell lung cancer
  • Malignant mesothelioma
  • Thymomas and and thymic carcinomas
  • Cardiac tumors
  • Thoracic sarcoma
  • Recurrent thoracic cancers
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.