Cancers Best Suited for Proton Therapy
Proton therapy can be used to treat about 80-85% of children whose cancers require radiation therapy for treatment. These include:
Brain and Central Nervous System
- Astrocytoma is a type of glioma (tumors begin from “glial” cells, which support functions of the nervous system ) that typically occur in the cerebellum, the area of the brain that plays a role in almost all of the body’s physical movement.
- Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (ATRT) is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that can appear in the brain or spinal cord.
- Craniopharyngioma arises above the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure attached to the base of the brain that helps control the body’s growth, development and regulation.
- Ependymoma usually begin in the lining of the ventricles (large open structures deep in the brain) or in the spinal cord, near the cerebellum.
- Intracranial germ cell tumors (germinoma)
- Low-grade glioma
- Medulloblastoma commonly occurs in the cerebellum and blocks cerebrospinal fluid from draining, causing increased pressure in the brain. Medulloblastoma to be considered a type of Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors (PNET), but that term isn’t used anymore.
- Optic nerve tumors
- Optic pathway / hypothalamic glioma
- Retinoblastoma is a tumor that occurs in the eye. It arises in the part of the eye known as the retina, which is located along the back wall of the inside of the eye.
- Chondrosarcoma is a rare, cancerous type of tumor that begins in cartilage cells. These tumors can appear in the body wherever cartilage is present. They usually begin in the bones of the limbs and pelvis, particularly the hipbone and thighbone.
- Chordomas occur in the bones of the skull and spine. They usually grow slowly, but can be difficult to treat, in part because they are located near critical structures, such as the spinal cord and brainstem. Chordomas are rare, especially in children.
- Ewing sarcoma occurs in bones or in the tissue around bones, and is typically found in the legs, pelvis, ribs, arms or spine. Ewing sarcoma is one of the most common forms of bone cancer in children.
- Neuroblastoma is the most common malignant (cancerous) extracranial solid tumor of childhood. It develops from the tissues that form the sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that regulates involuntary body functions.
- Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children. It typically occurs in locations where muscle is present and is most common in children who are younger than 10.
- Non-rhabdo soft tissue sarcomas occur in connective tissues throughout the body. These connective tissues include muscle, cartilage, tendons, fat, nerves, joint tissues and blood vessels.
- Angiosarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the blood vessels or the lining of the blood vessels.
- Epithelioid sarcoma typically appears in the extremities (especially in the arms and hands). It also can develop in the torso. Epithelioid sarcoma can affect both children and adults, but is most common in young adulthood. In most cases, epithelioid sarcoma does not spread. If it does spread, lymph nodes, the lungs and bones are the most common sites. Learn more.
- Desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT) are rare. This type of cancer usually begins in the abdomen or pelvis, and does not respond well to treatment.
- Synovial sarcoma usually arises in the legs or arms but may be found virtually anywhere in the body. Despite the name, it does not necessarily occur in the synovial tissue found in the joints.
- Tumors of the head and neck
- Wilms tumor, also called nephroblastoma, is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that originates in the cells of the kidney. It is the most common type of kidney cancer in childhood.
- Hodgkin's is a cancer that starts in a white blood cell called a B lymphocyte. Healthy B lymphocytes are part of the immune system. In Hodgkin’s lymphoma, some of the B lymphocytes are no longer healthy and do not fight infection. Instead, the abnormal (cancerous) lymphocytes begin to grow out of control, causing the lymph nodes to get bigger.
- Non-Hodgkin’s, including both B- and T-cell subtypes, starts in a cell called a lymphocyte. With NHL, abnormal (cancerous) lymphocytes divide rapidly, crowding out the normal cells. NHL may spread to the bone marrow, central nervous system, liver, spleen and reproductive organs.