Ma described the early radiation as carpet bombing, sayin

g it causes collateral damage in the area around the tumor. A “satellite map” is needed for a precision strike, he said.

Ma and his team put forward an individualized irradiation range and dose standard for radi

otherapy. The result is a clear picture showing high – and low-risk areas, which then allows dose stratification.

In 2014, an atlas of organs at risk in nasopharyngeal cancer patients was published in

Radiotherapy and Oncology. It suggested tailoring both radiation doses and targets, and setting a reco

mmended safety dose for protecting 33 normal organs around the nasopharynx.

Today, the five-year overall survival rate for patients exceeds 80 percent at Sun Yat-sen Uni

versity Cancer Center, while the rate of severe side effects from radiotherapy has dropped by 24 percent.

Ma, who has won China’s National Science and Technology Award twice with his team, is grateful to more than 10,000

patients who have participated in his research, saying their courage is behind the progress in the treatment.

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