Proton Therapy for Breast Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, every year more than 335,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. As part of an innovative cancer care network, the team at Northwestern Medicine Proton Center can help you understand your diagnosis and the advantages of proton therapy.

Proton therapy represents the latest advancements in cancer treatment, conforming to the shape of the tumor and reducing radiation damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs.

The unique physical properties of proton therapy allow protons to release maximum radiation dose right at the point of the tumor, minimizing exposure to the heart, lung and other breast. This may lower the risk of side effects in the future.

The Northwestern Medicine 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 breast 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
Watch a Video: Proton Therapy for Breast Cancer To learn more about other tumor types, visit our Video Library.

Talk to Your Physician About Proton Therapy

Talk to your physician about proton therapy if you have:

  • Locally advanced breast cancer
  • Larger tumors
  • Cancer involving lymph nodes
  • Early-stage breast cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease or lung disease
  • A higher risk of having the cancer spread
  • Previously had radiation treatment

Research and clinical trials

The Northwestern Medicine Proton Center is committed to advancing the standards of proton therapy through research. We offer several clinical trials for eligible patients. Talk to your physician, or ask our intake team about the breast cancer specific clinical trials available at Northwestern Medicine Proton Center.

A Phase II Clinical Trial for Breast Cancer

The Proton Center is among the first to provide proton therapy cancer treatment to patients with locally advanced breast cancer who have undergone either breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy.6 Our team is here to help you fight your breast cancer with a powerful tool that could spare more healthy tissue.

You may be eligible for and benefit the most from proton therapy if you:5,7

  • Have breast cancer involving the lymph nodes
  • Have other risk factors that indicate the inclusion of lymph node irradiation
  • Will be receiving cardiotoxic chemotherapy, such as doxorubicin or trastuzumab
  • Have preexisting vascular comorbidity, cardiac disease, lung disease, or increased risk of developing a secondary malignancy
  • Have anatomy that places normal organs at elevated risk of radiation exposure

Learn more about clinical trials for proton therapy.

A male proton therapy physician discussing proton therapy with a female patient. 

What to Expect with Proton Therapy

Proton therapy is considered safe, non-invasive and painless. Depending on the patient's diagnosis, the typical course of treatment for breast cancer is 30 sessions over the course of 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.

Patient Stories

Read what our patients have to say about their proton therapy treatment and how proton therapy and our staff impacted their lives.

Read more

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