Dr. Gary Larson talks about Treating Brain Tumors with Proton Therapy

With every other tumor location that we treat in the body, protons are able to give less radiation to the healthy tissue. For instance, with a brain tumor, we can give the same dose of radiation to the tumor that you can give with conventional radiation but give, on the order of, 60 percent less radiation to the healthy part of the brain. The more of the brain you irradiate, the more parts of the brain can decrease in function. People start losing their problem-solving ability, they have more memory problems. All as a result of getting a radiation dose to the healthy part of the brain.

With protons, since we’re sparing most of the brain from any radiation at all, and concentrating the radiation dose on the tumor, the brain that is not irradiated continues to function as it always did. People are able to carry on, you know, all their normal activities during and after radiation therapy.