Proton therapy reduces complications to the minimum. In the treatment of non-small cell lung carcinoma at a certain stage, radiotherapy may be established as a single therapeutic method or may be combined with chemotherapy. Proton radiotherapy is one of the most advanced technologies of current radiotherapy.
In order to achieve the maximum treatment effectiveness for lung cancer, it is vital to irradiate the tumor with high doses of radiation. Nonetheless, this goal is not often achieved in standard irradiation due to possible damage to the surrounding tissues.
In order for our medical team to assess a patient for suitability, we require some medical information from you. Your treatment coordinator will inform you of exactly what information we require. Usually, we will also request to see scans, such as an MRI, CT or PET scan. This information can be requested from the hospital or clinic and is often given to the patient on a CD. We can provide you with login details to upload the CD to our secure server. Alternatively, you can mail it to us.
Any information you already have about your diagnosis and previous treatments is very helpful and it is a good idea to provide us with as much information as possible in your initial enquiry. Your case will then be reviewed by our medical team at the daily indication board meeting. Your treatment coordinator will get back to you with the outcome, or possibly a request for more information if the oncologists require it to make their final decision.
You do not need to travel to Prague for the assessment.
When you come to Prague for treatment, you will first have a consultation to discuss the side effects and outcomes of treatment in your specific case, as well as the concrete treatment plan. The doctor also explains what to expect during and after the treatment. Finally, all of your questions are answered.
The first stage of treatment involves the diagnostic scans here at the Proton Therapy Center (MRI and/or CT, preparation of the fixation device, etc.). Precise treatment planning is crucial for treatment success. Therefore, a team of clinical physicists and physicians prepares a radiation plan tailored to each patient according to which proton therapy will take place. The irradiation plan also determines from which directions and with what intensity the proton beam will irradiate the tumor. This process is very complex and it typically takes one week to finalise before treatment can commence.
The treatment is outpatient, and you come to the Proton Therapy Center for radiation and regular check-ups during treatment. One visit takes about 60 minutes while the radiation is a matter of a few minutes. Prior to each radiation session, we carefully check your position using X-ray scans and carry out certain other checks necessary to commence irradiating. At least once a week, you undergo check-ups with the physician who will go through the treatment progress with you and check your condition.
Individual treatment doses are given each day, Monday to Friday. Treatment cannot be interrupted except for serious health reasons.
We Use The Pencil Beam Scanning Technology
Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS) marks the exact distribution of the proton beam dose and is currently the absolute peak in proton therapy technology. PBS irradiates the target area with millimeter accuracy with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs.
The Controlled Breathing Method
As respiratory movements may impair the correct and precise execution of proton irradiation, in the treatment of lung cancer we also use the method of controlled breathing. Patients whose tumor position changes due to respiratory movements are irradiated using a controlled breathing method. For this, we use the Dyn'R.
The controlled breathing method has been chosen because it is important that the irradiated area of the body and the target volume of the tumor are irradiated the same way during each fraction. Since this irradiated volume varies depending on breathing, we need to ensure that the patient's body is always in the same position. This is best done by holding their breath at a certain level. To determine this level, the patient first undergoes a controlled breathing training (Dyn'R training).
The controlled breathing training is done lying down on the back after being connected to the spirometer, using an antibacterial filter and a mouthpiece. The patient´s nose is held closed by a pin so that all exhaled air flows through their mouth. The patient also wears special glasses, where they see the breathing pattern to follow. The training is conducted by an experienced assistant and the patient has nothing to worry about.
The treatment is outpatient and, in most cases, lasts from 25 to 35 business days, according to the regime determined by the physician on the basis of the initial assessment and other diagnostic tests.