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Radiation with Heavy Ions
Protons are the most proven form of ionizing radiation. This type of radiation also includes radiation with heavy ions. Heavy ions are often characterized as “better” because they are a newer, lesser-known variant in radiation therapy. However, the fact is that this method, which generally uses carbon ions, is still experimental. Heavy ions do have less lateral scatter, but a radioactive “scatter radiation tail” forms behind the tumor due to the bursting of the ions themselves, negating any advantage of precision. The dream of achieving higher tumor doses while protecting healthy tissue remains unfulfilled, because unlike proton radiation, heavy ion radiation has greater biological efficacy around the tumor, not within the tumor itself: “The greater biological effect of the heavy ions at the end of their path only appears at lower doses, not within the tumor.”
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