Proton beam therapy

Proton Beam therapy is an advanced form of external radiation therapy that uses high-energy proton beams rather than photon X-ray beams.

At the Rutherford Cancer Centres, proton beam therapy is delivered using the latest IBA ProteusONE machines. ProteusONE delivers proton beam therapy using pencil beam scanning, an advanced technique that allows the dose to be delivered to the exact shape of the target area. This, combined with a robotic patient positioning couch and the most up to date imaging capabilities, including cone beam CT, allows for the delivery of precise proton treatments.

The proton beam therapy that patients at our centres will receive will be tailored and delivered by a highly skilled team, made up of therapy radiographers, physicists and dosimetrists who will work alongside your oncologist to plan and deliver your treatment. Proton beam therapy is currently available at the Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales.

How does it work?

Conventional radiotherapy works by using high energy X-rays to damage the DNA within the cancer cells, causing them to stop growing or die. Proton beam therapy can also be used to kill cancer cells. Proton beam therapy can also be used following surgery or alongside other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted drug therapy.

Like conventional radiotherapy, proton beams can be targeted to the tumour site but unlike photons used in conventional radiotherapy they can also be made to ‘stop’ at this point, sparing the healthy tissues beyond the tumour. Because proton beams can be stopped where needed this allows us to treat harder to reach tumours at a higher dose and treat tumours that are close to sensitive healthy tissues.

How does Proton Therapy work? - Video

Proton Therapy at the Rutherford Cancer Centres - Video


The radiotherapy treatment comes from an electrical machine called a ‘Linear accelerator’ and is directed as a beam to the part of the body that needs to be treated. Treatment is given daily over a period of days or weeks and you may hear people call these treatments ‘fractions’. They are just a fraction of your treatment dose and plan.


The Rutherford Cancer Centres infusion therapy suites consists of up to 10 treatment areas offering treatment for haematology/oncology patients requiring systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) and supportive care in an outpatient setting. Treatment for breast, urology, upper and lower gastrointestinal, and both malignant and non-malignant haematology disorders is offered.

Supportive care

At the Rutherford Cancer Centres, we aim to provide holistic support to patients throughout their treatment. We offer easy access to supportive therapies that are provided in-house at our centres. These could include access to: physiotherapy, dietetic services, reflexology and counselling.