Recurrent & Secondary

Fight Recurrent & Secondary Cancer
with Laser-like Precision

Proton Therapy for Recurrent & Secondary Cancer

We hope it never happens, but sometimes—even with the best care and technology—cancer comes back. If it does, fight back with a more advanced form of radiation treatment available today. Our intensity-modulated pencil beam scanning technology is unmatched in precision and enables our doctors to selectively target cancer that has returned or spread with high-dose radiation.

Compared with older passive-scattering proton therapy treatment, our pencil beam scanning technology precisely delivers radiation treatment for recurrent and secondary cancers within 2 millimeters and with the utmost care. We can attack tumors layer by layer and minimize harmful exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. This is crucial for patients previously exposed to radiation because normal tissues can absorb only a certain amount of radiation before irreversible damage is done. Radiation not concentrated in the tumor also puts healthy tissue and organs closer to reaching their lifetime maximum dose. By meticulously concentrating the dose and intensity, proton therapy helps reduce radiation-related toxicity and also increases the likelihood that patients can complete treatment with fewer interruptions or delays.

Recurrent & Secondary Cancer
Treatment Details

What We Treat

  • Locally recurrent cancer that reappears in the same place or close to it
  • Regionally recurrent cancer that regrows or grows into lymph nodes or surrounding tissues
  • Distally recurrent cancer (metastatic cancer) that is discovered in organs or tissues far from the original tumor
  • Secondary cancer (secondary tumor) that is the same or different type of cancer and occurs in areas that were previously treated

What We Do

  • Target the tumor only
  • Protect your healthy organs and tissues
  • Maintain your quality of life during treatment
  • Reduce side effects of treatment
  • Lower the risk of permanent disabilities or new cancer due to radiation

Benefits of Proton Therapy for Recurrent & Secondary Cancer

  • Our pencil beam scanning technology precisely controls protons to place the Bragg peak—the point at which they deposit their maximum energy—directly in the tumor. This allows us to treat more complex tumor shapes and vary the dose within the tumor.
  • Advanced proton therapy is often the best way to treat recurrent and secondary tumors in areas that have previously been treated with conventional radiation therapy. The healthy tissues around the recurrent tumor do not fully “forget” the previous radiation dose. Proton therapy allows doctors to more selectively deliver high-dose radiation and reduce the dose to surrounding healthy tissues and critical organs. In some cases, this has been shown to deliver higher cure rates than X-ray radiation treatment even in some of the most challenging situations.
  • Reduced radiation exposure to healthy tissue is extremely important as there is a maximum amount of radiation a normal tissue can safely receive during your lifetime. Any radiation beyond the lifetime maximum dose will exponentially increase the risk of damage.
  • Even patients who have already reached their maximum dose of X-ray radiation may be a candidate for proton therapy as it poses less risk of injury and damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs.
  • Unlike with older technology, the treatment plan can be loaded into the computer and completed within a matter of minutes. Treatments are also non-invasive and convenient so patients can get back to their daily activities quicker.

Proton Therapy
Right for You?


Treatments for cancer that has returned, also called a secondary cancer, depend on several factors. These include: the type and stage of cancer, when and where it recurs, age, overall health and personal preferences. Combined treatments of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation may be needed to treat some recurrent and secondary cancers. In addition, your previous cancer treatments and radiation exposure may affect your current treatment options.

Treatment Outcomes &
Long-Term Effects

Proton therapy treatment at California Protons Cancer Therapy Center in San Diego may offer similar outcomes to standard X-ray radiation, while reducing long-term and potentially life-threatening side effects due to radiation damage to surrounding tissues and organs. It may also lower additional chances for secondary cancers later in life due to the reduced radiation exposure to these healthy tissues and organs.

However, all cancer treatments have advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to discuss all of the potential risks, as well as treatment options, with your oncologist.

Coverage Options

About Proton Therapy