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Faces of Cancer Care: Proton Therapy

The Texas Center for Proton Therapy.
|Photography by Matthew Shelley
Left to Right: Jared Sturgeon, M.D., Ph.D.; Andrew Lee, M.D., MPH; Victor Mangona, M.D.

Texas Center for Proton Therapy has been serving cancer patients in Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond for nearly eight years. It is the first proton therapy center in Dallas-Fort Worth and the most technologically advanced in the state and region. The 63,000-square-foot facility, located in Irving/Las Colinas, is one of approximately 40 proton therapy treatment centers in operation in the U.S. and is the first stand-alone, LEED-Certified proton therapy center in the country. The center reached a milestone last year by treating its 3,000th patient. “We have improved the overall level of care for patients through a combination of technological advances, hard work, and gaining expertise on how to better utilize the technology we have,” says Dr. Andrew Lee, medical director. “As a team and as a center, we are proud of this accomplishment. Not only have we fine-tuned our existing technology and treatment techniques, we have developed new ones, which has kept us on the leading edge of proton therapy.”

People typically don’t know about Texas Center for Proton Therapy until they or a loved one need its services. Among the center’s most effective treatments is the pencil-beam scanning proton machines. The center is the only one in Texas with three pencil-beam proton machines, which is the most sophisticated method of proton delivery, and the only center with the ability to do volumetric on-board cone beam CT imaging when a patient is on the treatment table. Any cancer that requires radiation as a treatment component could likely be treated with proton therapy. Says Dr. Lee, “Proton therapy may be combined with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and surgery. Minimizing normal tissue exposure may increase the patient’s tolerability of other concurrent treatment.”

The team at Texas Center for Proton Therapy believes the goal of proton therapy treatment is not only to rid patients of cancer, but to maximize their quality of life during their treatment and beyond—even decades later. “Most people with cancer still have to work and raise their families, which is why we try to preserve and minimize treatment-related side effects,” Dr. Lee says. “We understand that a cancer diagnosis, and the subsequent treatment course, can be difficult for patients. This does not define them, and we understand they have full lives to lead.”

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