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Physicians at Loma Linda University Medical Center’s James Slater Proton Treatment Center published a study in the Cancer Journal (March/April, 2007) reporting that 20 breast cancer patients treated with protons resulted in substantial normal tissue protection when compared with standard x-ray radiation for partial breast treatment.
Each of the 20 patients studied had a lumpectomy to excise the primary cancer mass in the breast. Loma Linda radiation oncologists delivered proton beam radiation treatment in 10 daily fractions with several fields treated each day. No patient’s treatment had to be interrupted for any reason. The procedure was well tolerated; patients reported no significant discomfort during treatment and acute toxicity was limited to occasional mild dermatitis, which cleared upon cessation of treatment.
The investigators concluded that protons can provide substantial normal tissue protection compared with conventional x-rays when used for partial breast treatment. This confirms the experience that Loma Linda researchers have observed with proton treatment of other cancers. Research in this area will continue, and physicians expect the role of proton therapy in breast cancer to expand in the future.
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