Health insurance customers of Bupa UK will have greater access to a state-of-the-art cancer treatment within the next few weeks, thanks to a new partnership with the Proton Therapy Center.

The Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic, uses the latest pencil-scanning technology to treat tumours and works by accelerating protons until they reach half the speed of light.

Unlike traditional radiotherapy using X-rays, the proton therapy can pin-point the exact area to target, preserving healthy tissue around the tumour. This means the treatment is less invasive for the patient, and can help reduce their recovery time.

The technology has treated more than 2,500 patients from 25 countries. It can target tumors in the head, neck, brain, central nervous system, lungs, prostate, breast, pancreas and lymphomas. It can also help treat tumours in children.

"We're pleased to be working with Bupa to enable more patients with cancer to receive the benefit of this treatment," said Vaclav Lastovka, founder and CEO of the Proton Therapy Center.

"Being a Bupa partner in the highly specialised field of oncological care is a great success for us. It is further confirmation that the results of our treatment and the quality of our medical services are recognised worldwide."

Dr Tim Woodman, Bupa UK medical director, added: "At Bupa we’re committed to providing our customers with access to fast, high quality healthcare that is right for them. 

"Our partnership with the Proton Therapy Center in Prague is another example of how we’re offering our customers better access to advanced cancer treatment. 

"For some very specific types of cancer, proton therapy has been shown to have distinct advantages over surgery or traditional radiotherapy and we are delighted to be able to offer our customers with these conditions a treatment that is designed to deliver better patient outcomes."

Dr Jiri Kubes, medical director of the Proton Therapy Center, said: "The latest international studies on key cancer indications have shown that proton therapy is highly effective with minimal side effects.

"The proton cancer treatment we offer enables both the improvement of the therapeutic results and the increased effectiveness of the treatment itself."

“By offering proton therapy, it means Bupa patients can not only have access to timely and effective treatment, but also the best possible quality of life after."