Traditional radiation therapy uses photons, high energy particles, to target and kill cancer tumors. These packets of energy hit the tumor and scatter.
Proton therapy, a newer type of radiation treatment, better targets cancer. When the protons hit the targeted tumor, there is less scatter to the body tissue surrounding the tumor. This is especially important in sensitive areas (such as the brain, abdomen and spine), and in areas where there are still rapidly growing tissues that are not cancerous (growth plates, reproductive areas, children). This helps lessen side effects from radiation treatment, such as brain damage, sterility and diminished/uneven growth.