Proton Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer


Anchor lead: A new
type of radiation therapy may now be used to treat cancers of the head and
neck, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Head and neck cancers, also called oropharynx cancers, may
now have a new treatment option with proton therapy. Ana Kiess, a radiation
oncologist at Johns Hopkins, describes the approach.

Keiss: On the radiation side there’s also a new technology,
proton therapy, that is becoming more available nationally that is not
established yet as a standard of care option for oropharynx cancers so we’ll be
starting to treat head and neck cancer patients by protons, which essentially
are a form of radiation that are a particle and actually stop in the tissue
compared to Xx-rays which is our typical type of radiation that passes through
tissues, has the potential for much less toxicity from collateral damage to
normal tissues..  :29

Keiss notes that most cancers of the head and neck in the
United States today are the result of infection with human papilloma virus or
HPV, which makes them more susceptible to treatment. With the advent of proton
therapy for these tumors she expects that long term consequences of treatment
may be minimized and overall survival extended. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth