Proton Therapy

What is Proton Therapy?

Proton Therapy at MedStar Georgetown

Pencil Beam Scanning Proton Therapy (PBS) / Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT)

While many proton centers offer treatment with an older form of proton therapy called double scattered protons, the most recent refinement to proton therapy is called pencil beam scanning (PBS), allowing the delivery of intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT). PBS is designed to treat a single layer of a tumor at a time, in effect painting the tumor with radiation spot-by-spot, and slice by slice. Many centers that offer PBS still use the older form of proton technology to treat patients. At Medstar Georgetown, all patients are treated using proton therapy with HYPERSCAN™, an advanced form of PBS.

HYPERSCAN Proton Therapy Technology

The MEVION S250i™ with HYPERSCAN proton therapy system is the most advanced proton cancer treatment technology currently available. MedStar Georgetown is the first proton therapy center to access this level of advanced cancer treatment technology. With focused targeting of PBS, proton therapy with HYPERSCAN is the most precise PBS system available. The HYPERSCAN system is the fastest form of PBS, reducing the duration of each treatment session and improving both clinical accuracy and patient comfort.

How HYPERSCAN Technology Works

The HYPERSCAN system uses a pencil beam proton scanner, which deposits protons in the tumor spot-by-spot, layer-by-layer. The planning system creates a 3-dimensional representation of the tumor and relays the information to the proton therapy device. Then, the HYPERSCAN machine precisely targets the exact location of the tumor, delivering radiation one layer at a time. The accuracy of this state-of-the-art proton treatment system allows patients to be treated for cancer with less radiation exposure to normal tissues than other proton therapy systems.

Image-Guided and Adaptive Proton Therapy

MedStar Georgetown is also able to deploy proton therapy with the most advanced system available for the foreseeable future; we will enable the best positioning for patients to receive their treatments. We offer image-guided proton therapy (IGPT), using high-resolution imaging systems to accurately position a patient for radiation delivery.

Unlike other proton units, we offer adaptive proton therapy, with a diagnostic-quality CT scanner in the treatment room that can be used to modify treatment in response to changes in the patient’s anatomy, such as when the tumor shrinks during the treatment course.

Proton therapy with HYPERSCAN is a highly advanced form of radiation therapy (radiotherapy) that has the power to shrink and eliminate cancer by precisely focusing protons onto the target tumor. The state-of-the-art therapy, which is available at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center, improves the outcomes of patients undergoing radiation therapy. Proton therapy involves significantly less radiation exposure to normal tissues and can result in fewer side effects compared to traditional radiation therapy.

Proton therapy takes advantage of the physical properties of the proton particles, which can be controlled better than conventional radiation. This makes proton therapy more accurate and precise, destroying tumors without causing damage to the surrounding healthy cells. Proton therapy can avoid the need for certain surgeries and provides patients with an alternative treatment option for cancers of all types as well as recurrent cancers.

A patient receiving proton therapy with HYPERSCAN, a highly advanced form of radiation therapy.

Why is proton therapy used?

Proton radiation therapy can be used to treat a wide range of cancers and can treat tumors anywhere in the body. The cancer care team at MedStar Georgetown is continuously working to expand the list of conditions that can be treated using proton therapy.

Below are some of the most common conditions treated with proton therapy:

For a complete list of conditions treated using proton therapy, visit our Proton Therapy Conditions page

How does proton therapy work?

Proton therapy is similar to other forms of radiation in application, targeting cancerous cells without the need for surgical incisions. Traditional radiation therapy uses a special kind of high-energy beam, which is aimed at the cancer to damage the cells and stop them from multiplying. However, this high-energy beam impacts not only tumor cells, but it also damages other healthy cells that are in its path. On the other hand, proton therapy is better able to precisely target the exact location of the tumor, leaving surrounding healthy cells unharmed. In the long run, this can reduce the chances of developing secondary cancers due to radiation.

Our Specialists

 


For more information, please contact Cheryl Savage, Administrator, Department of Radiation Medicine

Phone: 855-213-9515

Email: [email protected]

 

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center is pleased to offer the most cutting-edge proton therapy technology available, providing the next generation of radiation medicine close to home. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward your recovery.

 

 


Resources for Physicians

Refer a Patient

 

Radiation Oncologists Dr. Keith Unger and Dr. Peter Ahn are part of a collaborative program, bringing together the leading specialists in the Washington, D.C. area.

 

MedStar Georgetown invites referring physicians and specialists to entrust their patients’ care to our experienced radiation medicine team. We are dedicated to putting our patients first and treating each patient individually and holistically. In addition, our doctors are committed to continuity of care and keeping our referring physicians informed and involved throughout the treatment and follow-up process.

Referring a Patient to MedStar Georgetown

MedStar Georgetown is excited to partner with referring physicians to provide the next generation of proton therapy for patients in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas. To refer a patient for proton therapy, please contact us by phone or email using the below information:

Referring Physician Contact: Cheryl Savage, Administrator, Radiation Medicine Department of MedStar Georgetown

Phone: 855-213-9515

Email: [email protected]

Benefits of Referring Patients to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center

Referring a patient to MedStar Georgetown for proton therapy can offer the following benefits:

  • Access to the most precise proton therapy technology currently available
  • Home to an experienced, multi-disciplinary and compassionate team of providers
  • A track record of success with state-of-the-art treatments

Useful Links

Please use the following links to learn more about proton therapy and its unique benefits for your patients:

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center is pleased to offer the most cutting-edge proton therapy technology available, providing the next generation of radiation medicine close to home. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward your recovery.


Our Facility

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center

 

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Washington, D.C. region.

MedStar Georgetown is the only cancer center in the D.C. area that is equipped with advanced proton therapy technology, providing the most targeted and low-dose radiation therapy. Conveniently located at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, our proton therapy center offers the latest advancements in radiation therapy for patients in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and the surrounding areas.

Virtual Tour

Hotels

In order to obtain discounted hotel rates, patients and families are advised to schedule their reservations as early in advance as possible.

 

 

The entrance to MedStar Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 


For more information, please contact Cheryl Savage, Administrator, Department of Radiation Medicine

Phone: 855-213-9515

Email: [email protected]

 

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center is pleased to offer the most cutting-edge proton therapy technology available, providing the next generation of radiation medicine close to home. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward your recovery.


What to Expect During Proton Therapy

Visiting MedStar Georgetown for Proton Therapy

At MedStar Georgetown, our doctors are dedicated to providing a seamless experience that is tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is home to leaders in proton and other forms of radiation therapy, who will guide you through every step of your treatment process and offer you personalized care and support throughout your recovery.

Proton Therapy Consultation

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is home to leaders in proton and other forms of radiation therapy, who will guide you through every step of your treatment process and offer you personalized care and support throughout your recovery.

The first step of proton therapy is determining whether it is the best treatment for your unique situation and health condition. During an initial consultation, a specialized radiation oncologist will determine whether you are a good candidate for proton therapy by reviewing your medical history and discussing your personal needs with you. 

Proton Therapy Cost

Once your doctor determines that you are a good candidate for proton therapy, the next step involves our Radiation Medicine Department team contacting your insurance provider to determine whether your treatment will be covered. We understand that medical bills and questions about insurance coverage can be a significant source of concern and stress for patients and their families, so it is a priority for us to keep you well-informed prior to beginning your treatment.

Does insurance cover proton therapy?

Medicare is covering proton therapy. Proton therapy is a standard of care for pediatric patients so insurance plans will cover most patients under the age of 21 or 19, depending on the plan. 

If you are a candidate for the proton therapy, your insurance will be contacted to find out if it is a covered benefit for you.  We have hired associates who will help our patients work through to obtain authorization and assist in the appeal process, if necessary.

We anticipate that insurance plans will cover most patients who need proton therapy, which is just a new way to deliver radiation, a treatment that has been around for decades. We will keep you informed as we pursue the process.

Proton Therapy Treatment Outline

Friendly staff members help patients check in at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center.

Proton therapy is performed in two stages:

  • Treatment Preparation (Simulation Session): Prior to actual treatments, our physicians will generate a radiation plan that is specific to you and your treatment needs including positioning and identification of your treatment area. Preparing this plan generally involves diagnostic imaging (CT, MRI, and/or PET scanning), which will guide the simulation session of the proton therapy that follows. Your physician will work with the radiation physicist and dosimetrist to come up with the best treatment plan, including dosage and beam configuration, to meet your needs.
  • Treatment Sessions: Shortly after the preparation phase, your radiation treatment sessions will begin. Most patients visit their radiation oncologist at least once a week while they are on treatment. During the course of the treatment sessions, most patients can continue their everyday routine, and return to work and other regular activities following treatment. Because proton therapy may cause significantly fewer side effects than other radiation therapies, it is less disruptive to your daily routine.

Our Specialists

 


For more information, please contact Cheryl Savage, Administrator, Department of Radiation Medicine

Phone: 855-213-9515

Email: [email protected]

 

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center is pleased to offer the most cutting-edge proton therapy technology available, providing the next generation of radiation medicine close to home. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward your recovery.

 

 


What Conditions Can Proton Therapy Treat

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center

Radiation Oncologist Dr. Keith Unger meets with and exams patients in the new exam rooms of the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center.

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy, which targets only the tumor cells and avoids the surrounding healthy tissues. This means that it is an ideal treatment for patients who have tumors that are close in proximity to other vital organs.

Proton therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions in both adults and children, including the following:

Proton Therapy for Pediatric Cancer

MedStar Georgetown provides the latest proton therapy treatment options for both adults and children suffering from cancer. Because proton therapy has a number of benefits for children, including reducing the risk of radiation-induced secondary cancer, it is especially useful for treating pediatric cancers. Find out more about the benefits of proton therapy for both adults and children here.

Why Choose Proton Therapy for Your Condition?

Proton therapy is the latest and most advanced form of radiation therapy, capable of treating tumors anywhere in the body. The pinpoint accuracy of proton therapy can destroy tumor cells with a lower dose of radiation and, in turn, lower chance of side effects and secondary radiation-induced cancer. Because MedStar Georgetown offers proton therapy, patients in Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas now have convenient access to this state-of-the-art proton treatment.

Our Specialists

 


For more information, please contact Cheryl Savage, Administrator, Department of Radiation Medicine

Phone: 855-213-9515

Email: [email protected]

 

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center is pleased to offer the most cutting-edge proton therapy technology available, providing the next generation of radiation medicine close to home. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward your recovery.

 

 


Benefits of Proton Therapy

Benefits of Proton Therapy at MedStar Georgetown

 

Proton therapy  with HYPERSCAN™ is the next generation of radiation therapy, providing patients with a wide range of benefits:

  • Targets and destroys tumors with precise accuracy
  • Applies less radiation dose than other types of radiation therapy due to its ability to shape to the exact size and shape of the tumor
  • Causes less damage to surrounding healthy tissues by improved accuracy
  • Results in virtually no exit dose (radiation exposure that continues through the body beyond the tumor)
  • Lowers the risk of radiation-induced secondary cancers
  • Results in fewer side effects and better quality of life following treatment
  • Highly customizable treatment that can be tailored to each patient's unique needs

Benefits of Proton Therapy with HYPERSCAN for Children 

Proton therapy is generally accepted as part of the standard of care treatment for many pediatric cancers. In addition to providing the most advanced form of radiation therapy for adults, proton therapy is beneficial for children, in particular, for several reasons.

  • Children are less likely to develop a secondary cancer when treated with proton therapy. There are several studies that suggest that proton therapy is more effective at eliminating cancerous cells while keeping healthy surrounding cells unharmed. This means that the chances of suffering from a secondary radiation-induced cancer later in life may be significantly reduced when using proton therapy.
  • Proton therapy lowers a child’s exposure to radiation. Because proton therapy with pencil beam scanning (PBS) can be more tightly controlled than conventional radiation therapy, it avoids unnecessary radiation exposure, especially to healthy tissues surrounding the treatment area. This results in less growth impairment.
  • Normal activities are less impacted during proton therapy treatments than with other forms of radiation treatment. During traditional radiation treatment, a child is usually exposed to higher levels of radiation to normal tissue, which can cause more side effects. This is especially concerning when treating a child, who may have to stay home from school or other activities during treatment. Proton therapy increases the likelihood that a child can continue his or her everyday life with less disruption during the treatment process.

Our Specialists

 


For more information, please contact Cheryl Savage, Administrator, Department of Radiation Medicine

Phone: 855-213-9515

Email: [email protected]

 

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center is pleased to offer the most cutting-edge proton therapy technology available, providing the next generation of radiation medicine close to home. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward your recovery.

 

 


Why Choose MedStar Georgetown for Proton Therapy

Advanced Proton Therapy in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area

Our cancer care team is dedicated to providing comprehensive and personalized care to determine the best treatment options for your needs.

The MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is the only facility in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to offer the most advanced forms of proton therapy with HYPERSCAN.  As part of MedStar Georgetown's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute (NCI) - designated comprehensive cancer center in the Washington, D.C. area, we offer access to the latest clinical trials and cancer treatments. With multi-disciplinary care and a team of experienced radiation oncologists, surgeons, and medical oncologists who are well-versed in the latest radiation techniques, coming to MedStar Georgetown gives patients access to the highest quality of care that is close to home.

State-of-the-Art Proton Therapy Technology at MedStar Georgetown

MedStar Georgetown is home to the latest advancements in proton therapy technology. Our facility is equipped with a pencil beam scanning (PBS) system, which is able to deposit dose; spot by spot, layer by layer to improve the ability to precisely target a tumor. This means that there is less collateral damage to surrounding healthy cells during treatment. Additionally, our facility is equipped with state-of-the-art HYPERSCAN™ technology, the latest in pencil beam scanning devices, which further improves the accuracy and efficiency of proton therapy.

Advanced Radiation Therapies Under One Roof

Our team of highly experienced and specialized physicians at MedStar Georgetown is dedicated to providing personalized and high-quality radiation therapies for a wide range of conditions, all under one roof. In addition to proton therapy, MedStar Georgetown is home to a wide range of cancer treatment options, each offering unique benefits, including Cyberknife, brachytherapy, and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).  Our cancer care team is dedicated to providing comprehensive and personalized care to determine the best treatment options for your needs.

Radiation Oncologist Dr. Brian Collins and our team of physicians have years of experience diagnosing and treating different types of cancers, including both adult and pediatric cancers.

 

Top Doctors Specializing in Proton Therapy

Our doctors are part of a collaborative program, bringing together the leading specialists in the D.C. area. Our physicians have years of experience diagnosing and treating different types of cancers, including both adult and pediatric cancers.

Our physicians provide consultations, personalized cancer treatment plans that are based on caring for the entire patient and addressing all of the patient’s individual needs. With access to the most advanced cancer treatment technology at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, MedStar’s providers have the tools, experience, and compassion to overcome cancer and quickly get on a path toward recovery.

Our Specialists

 


For more information, please contact Cheryl Savage, Administrator, Department of Radiation Medicine

Phone: 855-213-9515

Email: [email protected]

 

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Proton Therapy Center is pleased to offer the most cutting-edge proton therapy technology available, providing the next generation of radiation medicine close to home. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward your recovery.

 

 


Urethral Diverticulum

Urethral diverticulum occurs when a pocket or pouch forms along the urethra. It can fill with urine and lead to infection, causing:

  • Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Ongoing vaginal pain
  • A painful vaginal mass
  • Urinary dribbling
  • Pain with intercourse

Urethral diverticulum is a rare, and sometimes uncomfortable, condition seen most commonly in women ages 30 to 70. Its cause is not clear. Traditionally difficult to diagnose—up to 20% of those affected do not show symptoms— advances in imagining technology have led to more accurate diagnoses and help for those experiencing this condition.

Symptoms of Urethral Diverticulum

Symptoms of urethral diverticulum may come and go, and they do not necessarily correlate with the severity of the condition. Symptoms vary, but commonly include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Recurring UTIs
  • Needing to urinate frequently at night (nocturia)
  • Symptoms of lower urinary tract, such as overactive bladder [link to overactive bladder page]
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Blood in the urine
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Urine dribbling
  • Trouble emptying the bladder
  • Incontinence
  • Tender area or mass at the front vaginal wall

Diagnosis of Urethral Diverticulum

For some people, getting to a correct diagnosis of urethral diverticulum can follow a frustrating process of misdiagnosis and treatment for the wrong condition.  Proper diagnosis may be made through:

  • In-depth health history and physical exam
  • Dynamic urine studies
  • Direct exam of bladder and urethra, using an endoscope
  • Imaging, such as pelvic MRI

In addition to MedStar Georgetown radiology specialists, patients gain access to advanced pelvic MRI and urodynamic testing technology to help in accurate diagnosis of this rare condition.

Treatment for Urethral Diverticulum

Urethral diverticulum does not always need to be corrected—but help is available for those who experience symptoms.

Surgery is the only approved treatment for this condition and is best performed by specialists trained to perform the delicate reconstructive procedure.

In addition to advanced diagnostic technology, MedStar Georgetown urology specialists have targeted training and experience treating this unique condition.

Treatment usually requires only an overnight hospital stay and typically leads to improvement of symptoms with minimal discomfort.

Make an Appointment

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a urology specialist, call our scheduling line: 

Phone: 855-546-0616


Patient Resources

 

 

 

UroLift System

UroLift System
Dr. Ryan Hankins and Dr. Guarav Bandi perform the UroLift System treatment.

MedStar Georgetown Offers New Treatment for Benign Prostate Hyperplasia

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is the only hospital in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland to offer the new FDA-approved Urolift® System for treating patients with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). The Urolift System is a proven treatment for BPH with superior patient outcomes compared to traditional medical and surgical BPH treatment.

Benefits of the Urolift procedure include:

  • No cutting or heating during the procedure.
  • No sexual side effects.
  • Minimal post-procedure bleeding and pain.
  • No special follow-up or medical management in the post-procedure period.
  • Office based procedure performed under local anesthesia.
  • Relieves symptoms for up to five years after treatment.

Find Out More About the Physicians Who Perform UroLift

Dr. Ryan Hankins and Dr. Guarav Bandi (pictured above) both perform the Urolift System treatment. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our urology specialists, call 855-546-0616.

 

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a urology specialist, call our scheduling line: 

855-546-0616