Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer
Radiation therapy for cancer in the lung and chest can be particularly challenging due to their close proximity to the heart, spinal cord and esophagus, as well as the need to deliver high doses to the tumor.
The most advanced facility of its kind in Southern California, Scripps Proton Therapy Center uses precision radiation to help overcome these challenges. Protons deposit their highest doses directly in tumors, reducing exposure to healthy tissue. This is particularly beneficial for patients with compromised lung function or cardiovascular disease. In addition, some lung cancer patients can receive higher therapeutic doses with fewer side effects and a reduced chance of secondary cancers from radiation later in life.
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.
From diagnosis and treatment to navigation and support, Scripps offers comprehensive cancer care. Learn how proton therapy further complements these services.
Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer Treatment
Because it delivers the maximum amount of radiation to tumors, proton therapy is particularly well-suited to treat cancer in the lung and chest. This precision technology directly targets diseased tissue, while reducing radiation exposure to lungs, heart, spinal cord, esophagus, soft tissues and bone.
Proton can be an effective therapy for early-stage lung cancer patients who cannot undergo surgery. It can also be used when cancer has returned to areas that were previously irradiated or as a palliative treatment.
Proton treatments can also be used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Because less radiation hits areas outside the tumor, side effects and complications can often be reduced. Less exposure to healthy tissue can also minimize the risk of secondary cancers and other complications years after treatment.
Proton’s accuracy is even further enhanced by Scripps’ advanced imaging and pencil beam scanning technology, which focuses a narrow proton beam — smaller than the width of a pencil — to precisely target tumors.
Chest and lung cancers treated
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Small cell lung cancer
- Malignant mesothelioma
- Selected recurrent and metastatic cancer
- Mediastinal tumors (thymoma, sarcoma)
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.
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.
Evidence Supporting Proton Therapy for Lung Cancer
- An in-silico comparison of proton beam and IMRT for postoperative radiotherapy in completely resected stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer
- Dose-Volume Comparison of Proton Radiotherapy and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
- High-Dose hypofractionated proton beam radiation therapy is safe and effective for central and peripheral Early-Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Results of a 12-Year Experience at Loma Linda University Medical Center