Radiation therapy is an excellent method to treat cancer of the organs without surgery, but when photon beams (X-rays and gamma rays) are used, which is usually the case, normal tissue around the tumor is also irradiated, which may cause side effects. Particle radiotherapy was developed to enable more precise irradiation of the tumor tissue. The particle beams utilized in treatment today are proton beams and heavy particle beams (carbon or carbon ions). In both cases, treatment is performed by irradiating the tumor tissue with particles that have been accelerated to a velocity close to the speed of light.
Heavy particles are twelve times heavier than protons and possess a superior ability to travel in a straight line. For these reasons, it is possible to focus on the tumor tissue with greater accuracy and destructive force. However, as it is very expensive to build these devices, very few medical institutions in the world possess heavy particle radiotherapy devices. Presently, they can be found at five hospitals in Japan. About 80% of all heavy particle radiotherapy in the world is conducted in Japan.
As the Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator in Chiba (HIMAC), developed at this hospital, is capable of simultaneous horizontal and vertical irradiation using a double ring format, precise irradiation is possible by adjusting the energy of the vertical and horizontal beams according to tumor depth.
While localized cancers may be candidates for heavy particle radiotherapy, the following cases are particularly suitable examples: cases for which surgery is the first-choice therapy, but surgery is difficult, as patients are elderly and have complications, etc.; advanced cancers; cancers that do not respond well to normal radiotherapy; and cancers that can be operated on but for which there is a high potential of after-effects.
The National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) is the only research institute in Japan engaged in comprehensive research and development relating to radiation and people’s health.
This hospital is a research hospital with a basic focus on radiation therapy and was established in 1961, the same time as the NIRS. Since then, the hospital has specialized in the radiological diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and on nuclear medicine, among other areas. While using the most advanced therapeutic devices in the treatment of cancer, it has continued to develop new treatment methods. Japan was the first in the world to begin heavy particle radiotherapy, in 1994, and our hospital was at the frontline of this development by being the first facility where it was used. Our new hospital was established in 1995 and our treatment now concentrates on heavy particle radiotherapy.
We have a 17-year history and are one of the world’s top hospitals in terms of experience and achievements. As of February 2011, we had treated approximately 5,900 patients with heavy particle radiotherapy over a 17-year period. Our treatment results are very high with an average five-year control rate for all tumor cases of about 80%. As treatment is given at a safe and effective radiation dose based on our long and comprehensive experience, there have been very few cases of strong side effects.
We receive many patients from overseas, including Italy, France, and China, and admit about 20-30 international patients annually.
As this hospital is a research institute, these radiotherapy devices are used for research and development twice a year for a total of 2.5 months (1.5 months from February-March and 1 month in August), during which times we are unable to admit patients for treatment.
Dr. Tadashi Kamada
Heavy particle radiotherapy is painless and places little burden on the patient. It is an ideal treatment method for cancers that formerly could not be treated without surgery. We were one of the first hospitals in the world to engage in the clinical application of heavy particle radiotherapy and have amassed a great deal of experience and a proven record of achievements. As a hospital established in affiliation with a research institute specializing in radiation, we continue to develop and apply in clinical practice the most advanced treatment methods and technologies, and are contributing to the global development of heavy particle radiotherapy. We are committed to seeing our hospital’s heavy particle radiotherapy effectively utilized as one option of cancer treatment.
You will send us your pathological diagnosis, image information (CT. MRI, PET), referral letter from your primary physician or family doctor, and other information in advance, so that we can confirm whether the diagnosis is correct and consider admittance. If you are accepted, we will ask you to come to Japan after approximately one month. The devices will not be available for clinical treatment for one and a half months from February to March and for one month in August, and for this reason, we cannot admit patients during these periods.
|External View of Our Hospital||Advanced Treatment Research Ward
A next-generation irradiation technology called scanning irradiation is being clinically demonstrated in this facility. The ward was completed in 2010, and treatment commenced in May 2011.
|Advanced Treatment Room
The automatic robotic positioning system used for this scanning irradiation patient table helps increase throughput.
|Established 1961 (New site was opened in 1995)|
|Medical Departments (Outpatient)
Head and Neck/Nerve, Bone and Soft Tissue, Lung, Digestive Tract/Pancreas, Esophagus/Liver, Prostate Gland/Eyes, Gynecology, Disability Medicine, Medical Consultation
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4-9-1 Anagawa, lnage-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba 263-8555
|10 minutes on foot from
the JR lnage Station East Exit
|40 minutes from
Narita International Airport by car