Proton Therapy for Head and Neck Cancers

Cancers Treated: Head and Neck Tumors

Head and Neck Cancers

Head and neck cancers include those of the oral cavity, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity, and the salivary glands. Alcohol and tobacco use are the leading risk factors for head and neck cancers. Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a leading risk factor for oropharyngeal cancers. Head and neck cancers account for nearly 4 percent of all cancers in the United States, with nearly 70,000 new cases annually.

Why choose proton therapy?

There are several treatment options for head and neck cancers. Radiation is commonly used, but treating head and neck cancers with radiation can be complicated because of their proximity to vital structures, like the eyes, mouth, and brain. For patients requiring radiation, proton therapy can be an invaluable treatment tool. Protons deliver higher doses of targeted radiation than traditional X-rays, with far less risk of damage to surrounding, healthy tissue and organs.

Proton therapy can also dramatically lessen the risk of severe radiation side effects for head and neck cancer patients. Up to 60 percent of traditional radiation therapy patients will require feeding tubes during treatment, due to damage to the oral cavity. The precision of protons vastly diminishes this risk.

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Learn More About Treatment of Head and Neck Cancers

Information from the National Cancer Institute

Information about head and neck cancers, causes, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.

Learn More: NCI