The Pros And Cons Of Radiation Therapy

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2.1 Proton therapy The first who came up with the idea to use accelerated protons in cancer radiation therapy was Robert Wilson in 1946 [6]. In his paper he stated the basic principles and potential of this discipline. After the paper was published it took 8 years before the first proton therapy treatment took place in Berkeley [7], followed by Uppsala in 1957. The accelerators used for these treatments were based on existing particle accelerators designed for fundamental research. The applications were limited to a few areas of the body, such as eye tumours and head-neck tumours, since those accelerators were not designed for the treatment of patients and the energy was too low to treat deep-seated tumours. However, this pioneering work opened the way for clinical and technological developments of this discipline and a milestone was achieved when in 1990 the first patient was treated at the Loma Linda University Medical Center in California, the first hospital based proton therapy centre [8]. Until 2013, more than 100 000 patients were treated with proton therapy worldwide [9]. Radiation therapy works by overwhelming the capacity of the cell to repair DNA damage, resulting in cell death. Cells that are rapidly dividing, typically cancer cells, are affected most. The side-effect is that other non-cancerous but rapidly dividing cells such as…show more content…
They lose their energy by interactions with atomic electrons. The number of charged particles in the beam decreases only slightly along their path, while the energy of each particle decreases continuously along their entire path, which means that the particles stop at more or less the same depth. Furthermore, the more charged particles slow down, the more energy they lose. This results in a large dose deposition at the end of the path in the so-called Bragg peak. As shown in figure 2.1, the Bragg peak is sharper for more massive

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