Proton Therapy for Head and Neck Tumors

Treat head and neck tumors while reducing side effects

Proton therapy provides a safe, noninvasive and effective method for treating tumors in the head and neck. Tumors in these areas are located close to other delicate tissues that can easily suffer adverse effects from X-ray radiation. For this reason, the precision of proton therapy is key.

Proton therapy enables our physicians to deliver a precise, effective dose of radiation directly to head and neck tumors, minimizing the risk of excess radiation in healthy tissues around the tumor. Your risk of side effects, such as those affecting your sense of taste or smell, is reduced with proton therapy. Studies have also shown that proton therapy can reduce the need for feeding tubes by as much as 60 percent in nasopharynx cancers and 50 percent in oropharynx cancers.

Comparison image – Proton Therapy is on the left, Photon Therapy is on the right

Head and neck tumors we treat with proton therapy

Proton therapy can be used to treat a wide range of head and neck tumors, including:

  • Base of tongue cancer
  • Lacrimal gland cancer
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers
    • Esthesioneuroblastoma
  • Nasopharynx cancer
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Skin with perineural invasion
  • Throat cancer (nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal)
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Tonsil cancer
  • Tumors of the orbit

Proton therapy for recurrent head and neck tumors

If your tumor has grown back (recurrence), traditional x-ray radiation is generally not possible because the area around your tumor has already withstood a previous course of radiation. Proton therapy, however, is safe to use, as it can provide an optimal dose of radiation to your tumor that limits the dose that nearby important organs receive. This may lessen the risk of side effects, including those impacting your ability to taste or small. This puts radiation back on the table as a viable option for recurrent head and neck tumors.

Learn more about proton therapy

Request a consultation below to learn if proton therapy might benefit you. Our physicians will work with you and your care team to create your personalized treatment plan.

To learn more about proton therapy for head and neck tumors, please watch the video below.

Is Proton Therapy Right For Me?

Proton Therapy for Pediatric Patients


Are you the Patient, Caregiver or Physician?