Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer

Advanced Radiation Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Targeted proton beam therapy for prostate cancer can mean less risk of radiation to surrounding areas, potentially fewer side effects than X-ray radiation and a higher chance of curing or controlling the cancer.

Treatment for Prostate Cancer

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About Proton Therapy

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About proton therapy for prostate cancer

The prostate is located near several of the most sensitive organs and tissues in men, including the bladder, rectum, and structures critical for erectile function. Prostate tumors typically require high doses of radiation to treat and, because of their location, targeting them can be especially challenging, because:

  • Radiation to healthy tissues around prostate tumors can raise the risk of erectile dysfunction due to decreased testosterone levels, as well as urinary and rectal problems and gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Other side effects may include, urinary and rectal problems and gastrointestinal disorders
  • If prostate cancer comes back after radiation therapy, a second round of treatment with X-ray radiation may be too risky.

In some cases, with any radiation techniques, the potential for serious complications can be high. This can lead to a difficult choice between giving:

  1. a less-than-optimal dose to the tumor (which reduces the chance of a cure); or
  2. an ideal dose to the tumor with a higher risk of radiation to healthy tissues.

World class expertise

An internationally recognized expert in proton therapy, Carl Rossi, MD, has personally treated more than 9,000 prostate cancer patients with proton radiation over the last 20 years — more than any other physician in the world.

Benefits of proton therapy for prostate cancer

Proton therapy is an extremely precise form of radiation treatment that can target prostate tumors. Because proton beams can be meticulously controlled and deposit their maximum energy directly in the tumor, exposure to fragile healthy tissues in and around the prostate can be reduced.

Other benefits of proton therapy for treating prostate cancer include:

  • Lower risk of second cancers. Many studies have shown patients who received X-ray radiation therapy have an increased rate of secondary cancer (cancer caused by radiation) in surrounding tissues. Because proton therapy lowers the radiation dose to normal tissue, studies predict a lower risk of secondary cancer.
  • Safer for recurring cancers. Because proton therapy can better concentrate its radiation dose to the tumor and limit it elsewhere, it is ideally suited for treating areas that have previously received X-ray radiation therapy. Treating previously radiated areas is challenging and very risky with any radiation therapy. Tissues around a recurrent tumor don’t “forget” the previous radiation dose, and any added dose continues to increase the risk of injury to healthy, normal tissue. By reducing the radiation dose to these previously treated tissues, protons can help reduce (but not eliminate) some of the risks associated with re-irradiation.

Support services

When you are living with prostate cancer, you may need more than expert medical treatment. Our staff is here to help you and your family every step of the way, from scheduling appointments and answering questions to finding support services and other resources.

We offer a wide variety of support services for patients recovering from prostate cancer treatment, including:

Learn more about our cancer support services and resources.


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 your treatment options, with your cancer specialist.

Evidence Supporting Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer