Proton Therapy for Central Nervous System (Brain and Spine) Cancers

Brain and Spine Cancer Radiation Therapy

Delivering radiation therapy to tumors in and around the brain and spine (also known as the central nervous system, or CNS) can be a tremendous challenge. Clinicians must direct high doses of radiation to tumors while protecting, as much as possible, sensitive nearby tissues such as normal brain tissue, brain stem, and nerves that allow vision and hearing.

Scripps Proton Therapy Center uses high-precision radiation treatments to help overcome these challenges. Protons deposit their maximum energy directly in tumors, reducing exposure to other organs and tissues. As a result, some patients with tumors in and around the brain or spine can be treated with higher tumor doses, which may improve their chance of cure. Proton radiation allows doctors to reduce radiation to surrounding healthy tissue, often reducing the risk of collateral damage and lowering the likelihood of a secondary cancer.

Brain & Spine Cancers Treated

  • Glioma
  • Meningioma
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Spinal cord tumors
  • Ependymoma
  • Pituitary tumors

Learn more about proton therapy for CNS cancers and the evidence supporting its use.

About Proton Therapy

Physicians at the Scripps Proton Therapy Center in San Diego offer some answers to questions about treating recurrent cancers with proton therapy.

Proton Therapy Expertise

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The clinical and scientific teams have more than 90 years of combined experience treating patients with proton therapy. Learn more about the experts at the center.

Why Choose Scripps

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From diagnosis and treatment to navigation and support, Scripps offers comprehensive cancer care. Learn how proton therapy further complements these services.

Proton Therapy for Central Nervous System (CNS) Cancers

The sensitivity and critical importance of the brain and spine make it essential that radiation oncologists precisely target the tumor while minimizing radiation dose to healthy tissue.

Protons can be directed to deposit their highest energy in target tissue, with less radiation reaching healthy, non-target structures nearby.

This accuracy is further enhanced by Scripps’ advanced imaging and pencil beam scanning technologies. These direct and focus a beam of protons — a beam which is actually smaller than the width of a pencil — precisely to tumors.

Brain, spine and nearby tumors treated with proton therapy

View the evidence supporting proton therapy as a treatment option for tumors of the brain and spine.

Support services

Cancer treatment can be a difficult time for both patients and their families. Understanding this, Scripps offers a wide variety of care to ease the burden. Learn more about the support services available to cancer patients at Scripps.

What to expect

Each patient’s therapy is precisely tailored to their needs. Patients and clinicians collaborate closely to create a personalized treatment plan. The number and length of treatments will vary, based on the cancer. How patients respond depends on many factors, including the types of treatments they are receiving. Many people tolerate proton therapy well and continue to perform normal activities. However, individual responses vary. Learn more about what to expect during treatment at Scripps Proton Therapy Center.

Proton therapy is a highly precise form of external radiation therapy that can be used for tumor control in select patients. All cancer treatments have advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to discuss these, as well as treatment options, with your cancer specialist.

Proton Therapy for CNS Tumors Research