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Taiwan has the most particle therapy facilities in terms of population density

Source in Chinese: United Daily

Since the opening of the Proton Centre at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Linkou in 2015, there have been eight proton therapy facilities in Taiwan. The Heavy Ion Therapy Center at Taipei Veterans General Hospital is the first of its kind in the country, opening a new chapter in the fight against cancer. The Ministry of Health and Welfare has so far approved 15 hospitals to set up particle treatment centres, making Taiwan potentially the most densely populated country in the world for particle treatment.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare has commissioned the Taiwan Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology to conduct a study and analysis, which shows that there are 15 proton or heavy particle treatment centres in operation, approved or under application, with a total of 22 proton treatment chambers and 8 for heavy particle treatment.

If all 15 hospitals in Taiwan are in operation, there will be one proton or heavy particle treatment centre for an average of more than 1.5 million people in Taiwan. Yueh-ping Liu, Head of Medical Affairs at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said that Taiwan could become the country with the highest density of particle therapy in the world, but the number is still assessed to be within a certain range.

The medical professionals said that the development of proton or heavy particle therapy in hospitals is generally considered to be "like an arms race", but that the development of proton and heavy particle therapy must be complemented by other treatments such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Dr. Jeng-Fong Chiou, superintendent of Taipei Medical University Hospital (TMUH), said that although many hospitals across the country have set up proton or heavy particle treatment centres, the number of services provided is limited and there are still many patients waiting in line for treatment. For example, TMUH has a capacity of about 200 patients a year, and has treated 140 patients since it began operations in August last year, treating cancers such as lung, breast, head and neck, and prostate cancer.

"It is really good in treating cancer with proton and heavy particles," said Dr. Miao-Fen Chen, head of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Linkou Chang Gung. Taiwan is lagging behind Japan and South Korea in terms of particle therapy, and if many hospitals across the country have centres for heavy particle therapy, they can work together to develop particle therapy and enhance Taiwan's international competitiveness. Proton therapy at Linkou Chang Gung focuses on liver cancer, breast cancer, head and neck cancer and brain cancer, and will be extended to the common cancer of prostate cancer.

Dr. Chen said that how particle therapy is applied to patients depends on extensive clinical experience. The Chang Gung Proton Therapy Centres in Linkou and Kaohsiung are the first and second in Taiwan, and have treated more than 5,000 cancer patients in total.

Chairman of the Hope Foundation said that in his opinion, the density of particle therapy in Taiwan is a little too high. When treating cancer patients, it is important to choose the best treatment modality according to their condition, rather than just pursuing the latest medical technology.

"It is important to match patients and indications carefully when using proton or heavy particle therapy. Dr. Wei-Ming Chen, superintendent of Taipei Veterans General Hospital, said that there may be many particle treatment centres in the country in the future and those who really need it can receive the treatment they deserve, while those who do not need it should not be used.

The president of the Taiwan College of Healthcare Executive, Dr. Tzu-Jen Hung, said that the medical equipment, buildings and operating costs of proton or heavy particle treatment centres in hospitals are high, and there is little chance of reducing the cost of treatment in the early stages of operation.

15 Hospitals with particle therapy by status

In operation (number of chambers):

  • Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Linkou- proton therapy(4)
  • Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Kaohsiung- proton therapy(3)
  • Taipei Medical University- proton therapy(1)
  • Taipei Veterans General Hospital(May 2023)- heavy ion therapy(2)

Under construction:

  • National Taiwan University Cancer Center- proton therpay(3)
  • Changhua Christian Hospital- proton therpay(1)
  • China Medical University Hospital- proton therpay(1)


  • Tri-Service General Hospital- proton therpay(1)
  • Mackay Memorial Hospital Tamsui- proton therpay(1)
  • Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital - proton therpay(1)
  • China Medical University Hospital- heavy ion therapy(3)
  • Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital- heavy ion therapy(3)

In the process of application:

  • Taichung Veterans General Hospital- proton therpay(1)
  • Chung Shan University Hospital- proton therpay(1)
  • Dalin Tzu Chi General Hospital- proton therpay(1)
  • E-Da Hospital- proton therpay(3)
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