Proton therapy is a highly advanced form of radiation treatment that precisely targets and destroys cancer cells but spares healthy cells. This lowers the risk of side effects to patients, improves their cure rates and reduces the chances of secondary cancers arising later in life. Once installed, MedStar Georgetown will be one of only 13 centers in the United States to offer proton therapy.
“As one of just 45 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States to earn this designation by the National Cancer Institute, proton therapy was a natural progression for us in terms of caring for our patients with the latest technologies available,” said Dr. Collins who has worked extensively for more than a decade with another advanced radiation technology at MedStar Georgetown; CyberKnife. “Having proton therapy opens up a whole new population of patients we can treat. Some types and stages of cancer respond better to CyberKnife; others respond better to protons. We are thrilled to offer patients in the Washington, D.C. area both options.”
Dr. Collins says proton therapy will be used for pediatric cancers as well as primary brain tumors. It will also play a role in treating lung, esophageal and head and neck cancers.
Proton therapy is FDA approved and is covered by Medicare and private insurance companies. As an academic medical center, opportunities will be available at MedStar Georgetown for education, training and research.
Watch this time lapse video of the proton accelerator, the heart of the proton therapy system, arriving at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Check out the 4 different camera angles that take you inside the vault itself. The Proton Therapy Center will be the first and only of its kind in the Washington D.C. area.