RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Proton therapy can cause side effects as the cancer cells die or when the energy from the proton beam damages healthy tissue.
Because doctors can better control where proton therapy releases its highest concentration of energy, proton therapy is believed to be less damaging to healthy tissue and to have fewer side effects than traditional radiation therapy. Not all studies have shown this, though.
Still, proton therapy does release some of its energy in healthy tissue. What side effects you experience will depend on what part of your body is being treated and the dose of proton therapy you receive.
In general, common side effects of proton therapy include:
- Hair loss around the part of your body being treated
- Skin redness around the part of your body being treated
- Soreness around the part of your body being treated
- Brada M, et al. Current clinical evidence for proton therapy. Cancer Journal. 2009;15:319.
- Foote RL, et al. The clinical case for proton beam therapy. Radiation Oncology. 2012;7:174.
- Flanz J, et al. Technology for proton therapy. Cancer Journal. 2009;15:292.
- Devicienti S, et al. Patient positioning in the proton radiotherapy era. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research. 2010;29:47.
- Proton therapy. RadiologyInfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=protonthera. Accessed July 8, 2013.
- 200 studies found for: proton therapy AND cancer. ClinicalTrials.gov. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=proton+therapy+AND+cancer. Accessed July 8, 2013.