UMC Groningen Protonen Therapie Centrum
The UMCG is one of the first hospitals in the Netherlands that will be able to provide proton radiation therapy in addition to current advanced (photon) irradiation techniques. In some patients, who have an increased risk of side effects despite modern photon radiation techniques, the amount of radiation in healthy organs might be reduced by using proton radiation therapy instead. To assess whether a patient can expect to benefit from proton radiation therapy, two possible radiation plans are made: one for proton- and one for photon radiation therapy. The appropriate best plan will be selected for the actual treatment.
What is Proton Therapy ?
A guiding principle of all radiation therapy is that it should affect the tumour as best as possible, while affecting the surrounding healthy tissue as little as possible. The properties of certain types of tumours make it difficult to strike a good balance between destroying the tumour and sparing the healthy tissue. Proton therapy (radiotherapy using protons) may prove helpful in the treatment of such tumours.
Proton irradiation is a different form of radiotherapy. In contrast to photon therapy, proton therapy using particles. These particles (the protons) are the building blocks of atomic nuclei, and as so small as to be invisible.
Availability of Proton Therapy
Proton therapy is currently unavailable in the Netherlands. The UMCG Radiotherapy department refers patients eligible for this type of therapy to other European centres.
The UMCG expects to be able to treat eligible patients using proton radiotherapy as of the end of 2017, specifically at the UMC Groningen Proton Therapy Centre, part of the UMCG Radiotherapy department.