Proton Therapy for GI Tract Tumors

Treatment for GI tract tumors often requires a combination of radiation therapy and either chemotherapy or surgery. The combination of therapies can be difficult for patients to tolerate. In some cases, standard radiation isn’t a viable treatment option for patients because it would cause too much damage to healthy tissues and organs near the tumor.

The care team at Northwestern Medicine Proton Center can help you understand the advantages of proton therapy for your diagnosis.

Patients for whom standard radiation is not a viable option can find an effective treatment option at the Proton Center, one of a growing number of proton therapy centers in the U.S.3 The GI tract tumors most appropriate for proton therapy include:

  • Esophagus
  • Pancreas
  • Liver
  • Rectum
  • Anal canal

The Proton Center is one of the few proton therapy centers throughout the Midwest and the first one in Illinois. Our team is dedicated to explaining all of your treatment options for GI cancer and facilitating a conversation with you and your physician or oncologist to determine the best course of treatment for you.

To learn if you can benefit from proton therapy, call 1.877.887.5807 or fill out our online form.

Request Appointment
Esophagus proton scan 

Advantages of Proton Therapy for GI Tract Tumors

Treatment-planning studies for esophageal cancer found that the more precise dose delivered with proton therapy reduced the likelihood of lung complications.2

Protons conform to the shape of the tumor to deposit more energy directly to the target area and reduce the radiation damage to healthy tissues.1 Patients treated with proton therapy for GI tract tumors may experience fewer side effects as well.2,3

What to Expect with Proton Therapy

Proton therapy is considered safe, non-invasive and painless. Depending on the patient's diagnosis, treatments are usually given five days a week. Liver tumor treatment typically involves 15 sessions over three weeks. Other GI tumors can require 30 treatments over six weeks.

Patients continue with normal activities before and after treatment. Some patients choose to work; others go on a “radiation vacation” and spend their days doing recreational activities before or after treatment.

Contact Us

To discover if you or a loved one could benefit from proton therapy, please call us at 877.887.5807 (TTY 711).

Request Appointment

Video Library

We have created a library of several videos for you with key information such as:

  • What is Proton Therapy?
  • Benefits of Proton Therapy
  • Real patient stories/testimonials regarding specific tumor types
  • Virtual tour of the proton center