Base-of-skull Tumors

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Proton Therapy for Base-of-Skull Tumors

Cutting Edge Treatment With Unmatched Precision

Proton therapy is an advanced and ultra-precise form of radiation treatment that targets tumors located on the base of the skull while drastically reducing the risk of short and long-term side effects.

 

Treating Base-of-Skull Tumors With Proton Therapy

Given their proximity to critical structures, base-of-skull tumors — including chordomas and chondrosarcomas — must be treated with extreme care and precision. They are especially difficult to remove surgically and excess radiation can lead to serious side effects such as vision and hearing impairment or cognitive damage. Proton therapy, however, is particularly effective for treating base-of-skull tumors as the radiation dose is carefully controlled to deposit the maximum dosage directly into the tumor. Surrounding healthy tissue is spared from excess radiation exposure and damage to vital organs such as the brain, brainstem, spinal cord, and optic and cranial nerves is minimized.

Unlike standard X-ray radiation treatment, which can affect your hearing, vision, taste, and cognitive ability, proton therapy is more precise with lower risk of side effects and secondary cancers. Patients can maintain their quality of life, both during and after treatments.

Proton Therapy vs X-Ray/IMRT for Base-of-Skull Tumors

Proton therapy delivers less radiation to the lungs and other nearby organs than X-ray radiation. These images show the areas of the body exposed to radiation during treatment. Where X-ray radiation releases radiation from the moment it penetrates the skin and all the way through to the other side of the tumor, proton therapy deposits radiation directly into the tumor without exiting through surrounding healthy issue.

Benefits of Proton Therapy for Base-of-Skull Tumors

  • Precisely targets the tumor, maximizing the dose to cancer cells
  • No exit dose results in lower radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs, including the brain, brainstem, optic and cranial nerves, and spinal cord
  • Lower risk of side effects such as impairment of vision, hearing, and cognitive ability, and better protection of brain and spinal cord
  • Pencil Beam Scanning offers the highest precision targeting for complex cases
  • Patients can maintain quality of life during and after treatment
  • Effective option for recurrent cancers in patients who previously received radiation therapy
  • Reduced odds of secondary cancers
  • FDA approved treatment

“Protons are the most sophisticated and elegant way of delivering radiation today. We can minimize the side effects and improve the quality of life.”

– Dr. Brian H. Chon, MD, Medical Director

Is Proton Therapy Right for Me?

Most patients with base-of-skull tumors are good candidates for proton therapy. At ProCure, the tumors we treat include:

Benign

  • Pituitary adenoma
  • Neurofibromas
  • Neuromas (trigeminal neuromas, vagal schwannomas)
  • Meningiomas
  • Glomus tumors
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Acoustic neuromas (also called vestibular schwannomas)

Cancerous

  • Sarcomas
  • Mucosal melanomas
  • Esthesioblastomas
  • Chordomas
  • Carcinomas
  • Carcinoid tumors

If your condition is not listed, you may still benefit from proton therapy. Please reach out to the center to arrange a consultation and discuss if proton therapy is an appropriate treatment option for you.

Base-of-Skull Tumor Treatment FAQs

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation that destroys cancer cells by preventing them from dividing and growing. Proton therapy uses protons—positively charged atomic particles—instead of the photons used in standard X-ray radiation therapy. With proton therapy, doctors can precisely target base-of-skull tumors while minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Unlike standard X-ray radiation, protons deposit much of their radiation directly into the tumor and then stop.

Depending on your diagnosis, treatments are usually given 5 days a week for a period of 4-7 weeks. Each treatment session can range from 15-60 minutes, but the actual proton delivery is only about 60 seconds.

Yes. Proton therapy can be used in combination with and/or as a follow-up to conventional radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.

The base-of-skull tumors most appropriate for proton therapy include:

Benign

  • Pituitary adenoma
  • Neurofibromas
  • Neuromas (trigeminal neuromas, vagal schwannomas)
  • Meningiomas
  • Glomus tumors
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Acoustic neuromas (also called vestibular schwannomas)

Cancerous

  • Sarcomas
  • Mucosal melanomas
  • Esthesioblastomas
  • Chordomas
  • Carcinomas
  • Carcinoid tumors

If your condition is not listed, you may still benefit from proton therapy. Please reach out to the center to arrange a consultation and discuss if proton therapy is an appropriate treatment option for you.

Proton therapy is covered by Medicare and many private insurance providers. The center has financial counselors who are dedicated to guiding you through the insurance process and will work with you to review benefits (such as co-pay, deductible, out-of-pocket costs) offered by your insurance company. If you have questions about coverage, please contact us and have your insurance plan, group number, and member ID ready. Once supplied to the center, one of our intake members will be in contact to review the benefits offered by your insurance company.

Proton therapy and X-ray radiation therapy both treat base-of-skull tumors by killing cancer cells when they attempt to divide and multiply. However, there is an important difference. X-ray radiation releases its maximum dose of radiation quickly after penetrating the skin and continues to release radiation as it passes through your body beyond the tumor, exposing more tissue to unwanted radiation and potentially causing more damage to healthy tissue and organs. Proton therapy delivers most of the radiation exactly at the tumor site and then stops. There is essentially no radiation exposure beyond the tumor site once the radiation has reached and covered the treatment area. This allows proton radiation to target the tumor while reducing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

There are a number of studies that show proton therapy is an effective treatment for base-of-skull tumors. Skull based tumors have been treated with proton therapy for over 20 years with excellent published outcomes.  Protons remain the standard of care for these types of cancers. These studies can be found on our Research page.

Most base-of-skull tumor patients experience minimal side effects during proton therapy treatment. Your doctor and care team is available to help manage any that may occur. Most patients can continue to be active and engage in their normal daily activities during and after treatment.

Many patients with base-of-skull tumors are good candidates for proton therapy. If you are interested in proton therapy as a treatment option, we can schedule a consultation for you to speak with one of our radiation oncologists. During the consultation, the radiation oncologist will discuss different treatment options with you and determine if you may benefit from proton therapy. The radiation oncologists at ProCure use various forms of radiation to treat base-of-skull tumors in addition to proton therapy, so they will provide you with a treatment recommendation that best fits your needs.

Proton Therapy Research

Review the latest research studies on proton therapy for base-of-skull tumors.

Talk To Us

Find out if proton therapy is the right treatment for you. Contact our Care Team or request more information online.

Attend An Information Session

Learn more about proton therapy and our world-class Care Team. Contact the center to reserve your place.

 

Contact our care team at (877) 967-7628