Average life expectancy worldwide has increased by about six years over the last two decades, according to the “World Health Statistics 2014”. However, cancer remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012. Its incidence grows yearly at an average rate of 2.3% and it is expected that annual cancer cases will rise by about 70% within
the next two decades, from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million. About 30% of this rise is due to the main five behavioural and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol. Other major influences include ageing population and pollution. The most common causes of cancer death are lung cancers (1.59 million), liver (745,000), stomach (723,000), colorectal (694,000), breast (521,000) and oesophagus (400,000).
Photons are the most common type of ionizing radiation, but heavier particles such as electrons, neutrons, carbon ions, alpha particles and protons may be used to administer radiation therapy as well. Due to the physical properties of protons, which stop at a given depth and deliver the largest part of their energy at the end of the “Bragg Peak”, the beams deliver equal or higher radiation to the target while conveying less dose to surrounding healthy tissues. Leading doctors and medical physicists have embarked on expanding the clinical application of proton radiation therapy. By now, the value of this treatment modality for pediatric cancers is widely recognized. It therefore attracts special attention from the medical community, leading to numerous discussions about the need for a proton facility to provide more advanced treatment options and how these could equally benefit adult cancer patients.
This white paper details the science and clinical utilization of proton radiation therapy. It aims to provide information that facilitates discussion and evaluation of a proton therapy facility’s value.
IBA White Paper
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