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The CNAO's Synchrotron

Treating tumours applying hadrontherapy requires a complex particle accelerator: an 80-metre, Ø25 ring connected to the CNAO treatment rooms.

What are the pathologies that can be treated?

Hadrontherapy is a form of radiotherapy to treat and cure tumours that are often inoperable or resistant to traditional radiotherapy treatments. Find out which ones can be treated.

Patients area

Service charter, reception facilities, contact info of the Public Relations Office. Here you will find everything patients should know

The CNAO treatment process

From the request for evaluation to the follow-up. Here are all the stages of an Hadrontherapy treatment process at the CNAO Foundation.




Would you like to know the facilities and understand how the CNAO's particle accelerator works?  Register for a guided tour. Science belongs to all of us.

The National Center for Oncological Hadrontherapy is the only centre in Italy that uses hadrontherapy with both protons and carbon ions to treat tumours. There are only 6 facilities around the world that can do this, and CNAO is one of them. The Center is based in Pavia, only half an hour away from Milan.

Hadrontherapy is an advanced way of radiotherapy that uses protons and carbon ions instead of X-rays to attack tumour cells. These particles are very heavier and have more energy than electrons and, consequently, they are even more effective to treat some kinds of tumours. Hadrontherapy is particularly suited to treat radio-resistant tumours- those tumours that do not respond to the X-rays used by traditional radiotherapy- or surgically inoperable tumours.

Hadrontherapy is included in the list of treatments covered by the Italian National Health Service since 1 January 2014. Some of the main advantages of this treatment are:

  • tumours that are located in particularly difficult locations can be treated;
  • it is a highly precise method that targets the affected while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. 

In addition to actively dealing with hadrontherapy treatments, CNAO is also a Research and Development Centre whose activities range from radiobiological to translational clinical research, aimed at continuously stepping up the fight against cancer.

    Azienda con sistema di gestione per la Qualità Certificata
    Centre registered with QuESTIO, the mapping of players actively operating in the field of research and innovation
    Organization Accredited by Joint commision internatoional