About heavy particle treatment

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[Introducing heavy ion cancer therapy]

Heavy ion cancer treatment is a type of radiation therapy. This cutting-edge technique involves the irradiation of cancer lesions using focused beams of carbon ions accelerated to approximately 70% of the speed of light.

[Types of cancer treatment] Types of cancer treatment

[Characteristics of heavy ion cancer therapy]

Concentrated irradiation of the cancer lesion

X-rays used in conventional radiotherapy are most effective near the surface of the body and emit energy as they penetrate deeper into the tissue. Heavy ions, however, cause an energy peak at a fixed depth within the body, and emit considerably lower levels of energy before and after this point. By matching this depth to the position of the cancer lesion, it is possible to specifically target the tumor and effectively treat cancers situated deep within the body.

Minimal side effects

As radiation is concentrated on the cancer lesion only, damage to the surrounding normal cells can be minimized, thereby significantly reducing the likelihood of side effects.

Outpatient treatment made possible

As surgery is not required, patients can be treated on an outpatient basis. Furthermore, treatment can still be provided to patients who are not confident about their physical strength, such as the elderly.

Intractable cancers now treatable

Heavy ion therapy makes it possible to treat a wider range of cancers, including those for which conventional radiation therapy has shown little effect such as osteosarcomas, and cancers that cannot be removed surgically because they have developed in complicated areas.

Short treatment period

Heavy ion beams have two to three times the anti-cancer cytotoxic capacity of proton beams, X-rays, and gamma rays. Since each radiation session is more effective, the overall treatment can be shortened significantly.

[Illustration of dose distribution] Illustration of dose distribution

[Examples of the number of rounds of irradiation required]

Type of cancer Conventional radiation therapy
(X-rays, gamma rays)
Heavy ion therapy
Liver cancer 10 to 20 times 2 to 4 times
Lung cancer Stage I 4 to 22 times 4 to 12 times
Locally advanced 30 to 40 times 16 times
Prostate cancer 35 to 40 times 12 times
Pancreatic cancer 25 to 30 times 8 to 12 times
Head and neck cancer, bone and soft tissue tumors 30 to 40 times 16 times