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Side effects of proton therapy

Similar to X-ray diagnostics or photon radiation therapy, one does not feel anything of the radiation with protons itself.

Radiotherapy is a local measure. In addition, since proton therapy allows the radiation to unfold directly in the tumour, the surrounding tissue and organs are protected to the best of their ability. If a reaction – i. e. a side effect – occurs, only the irradiated body region is usually affected. This can lead to irritation of the skin or mucous membranes, which usually recede completely within two to three weeks after treatment. Sometimes, however, a kind of permanent scarring can also occur as a late consequence.

The treatment of the prostate can cause a burning sensation when urinating. However, these side effects are easy to control and disappear within a few weeks. If chemotherapy is carried out in parallel, changes in the blood count and increased irritation of the mucous membrane can also occur.

In general, fatigue, unwillingness or loss of appetite can also occur in patients. This is caused by the body’s efforts to process the rays. However, the possible side effects of proton therapy described above are very individual and depend on the place of irradiation, the individual or total dose and also on the frequency of irradiation. In addition, the radiation sensitivity is different for every person. You will be informed in detail during the initial presentation, and you will also be informed about how side effects can be avoided and, if necessary, how they can be treated. You will be monitored during the treatment. If side effects should occur, please inform your doctor or a MTRA/radiographer about them, they can be observed and countermeasures can be taken.

Outpatient Nursing Care Unit

In order to avoid or relieve possible side effects, a nursing outpatient clinic was established at WPE. This is integrated into the outpatient clinic and, in coordination with the physicians, is carried out according to guidelines by certified nurses with different qualifications and professional further training.

Long-term observations

Since 2013, the treatments and their respective tolerability have been documented in the form of side-effects that have occurred in the course of studies. From this, differentiated statements are to be made about the possibilities of proton therapy, tolerability during treatment and possible late effects. The documented results to date show that the tolerability is generally good. For this reason, long-term follow-up treatment is also important for the WPE in order to document the development of side effects that have occurred since the therapy.

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The case management of WPE will assist you with questions you may have.