Proton therapy, more effective and safer treatment, is now available for breast cancer patients

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In the first of two articles, the team at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague describe the type of treatment they offer, and who comes to visit them.

The Proton Therapy Center (PTC) in Prague, Czech Republic, is a top-tier cancer center offering proton beam therapy, onsite concomitant chemotherapy and a full range of diagnostic services (MRI, CT, PET/CT).

The PTC is equipped with pencil beam scanning, the most accurate and advanced form of proton therapy currently available, which allows for a precise dose to be delivered to the most complicated target volumes while sparing nearby critical organs and healthy tissue.

There are four treatment rooms at the PTC, three rooms equipped with a rotating gantry and one with a fixed beam. The rooms containing the rotating gantry beam utilize image guided radiotherapy (IGRT). The use of IGRT is crucial for correcting the changes in the target area position that occur during the respiratory cycle.  

Since first opening in 2012, we have treated more than 3,000 patients not only from the Czech Republic but from all over the world including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Diagnoses we currently specialize in at our facility include the following:

  • Paediatric tumours
  • Central nervous system tumours
  • Head and neck tumours
  • Lung tumours
  • Liver tumours
  • Lymphomas
  • Prostate tumours
  • Breast tumours

The major side effects women with breast cancer have to face are cardiotoxicity, pneumotoxicity and the increased risk of secondary tumours. With proton therapy, we are able to reduce exposure to the heart and lungs by 99% and 81%, respectively. The risk of secondary malignancies is lower due to a significant reduction in the integral dose.

Treatment of breast cancer using pencil beam scanning requires precise location of the target irradiation volume and tissue located anteriorly to the tumour. However, change in volume position often occurs as a result of respiratory movement. We can track respiratory movements using the Dyn’R device both during CT scans and irradiation. When a patient holds their breath during the deep inspiration phase there is less target volume movement, increasing the accuracy of irradiation. The Proton Therapy Center is the first center in the world to use this combination of respiratory monitoring and proton beam therapy for all mediastinum tumours.  ​

Team of experts

The centre not only has a highly experienced team of experts, but also a dedicated team of treatment coordinators, who help to guide patients by serving as a liaison between the patients and medical staff.

The Proton Therapy Center is conveniently located 15 minutes from the city centre of Prague and since treatment is done on an out-patient basis, patients have plenty of time to explore Prague.

In recent years, we have established partnerships with several private health insurance providers, including BUPA and WPA. With these partnerships, patients coming to the Proton Therapy Centre for treatment of certain diagnoses will be reimbursed. Other insurance providers are willing to consider reimbursement on a case-by-case basis.

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About Author

Pink Ribbon is the growing international network of doctors, researchers, charities and other campaigners, interested in bringing forward the date where breast cancer-related deaths are a thing of the past. It focuses on events and information provision, including website bulletins, conferences and awards (being planned for 2018). It is led by publisher Gerard Dugdill.

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