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Evidence to Improve Care

Proton Beam Therapy for Cancer in Children and Adults

Final Recommendation

  • Ontario Health, based on guidance from the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, recommends publicly funding proton beam therapy for pediatric cancers and a subset of adult cancers requiring curative radiation therapy

Read the final recommendation report

Treating cancer often includes radiation therapy, which uses energy to kill cancer cells. A common form of radiation therapy uses photon beams (such as x-rays or gamma rays). However, there is a risk that the radiation can damage healthy cells around the cancer, leading to long-term health problems.

Proton beam therapy is an alternative type of radiation treatment that can target the cancer cells more precisely and may avoid damaging healthy cells. It is not currently available in Ontario or anywhere in Canada.

This health technology assessment looked at the safety, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of proton beam therapy, compared with photon radiation therapy, for children and adults with various types of cancer. It also looked at the budget impact for the Ministry of Health to build and operate a proton beam therapy facility in Ontario, and at the experiences, preferences, and values of people affected by cancer.

Read the full health technology assessment report for more information.

Proton Beam Therapy for Cancer in Children and Adults: A Health Technology Assessment (PDF)
May 2021

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The Ministry of Health is currently reviewing this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health has provided the following response: The Ministry has a standardized process in place to review health technology assessments and funding recommendations. This takes into consideration Ministry priorities, implementation options, the need for consultation with impacted stakeholders, and funding considerations.

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