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Tampa General Hospital to get new proton therapy center to treat cancer

One out of every two patients receive radiation as part of their cancer care, so right now they’re forced to travel for this therapy.

TAMPA, Fla. — A new partnership that includes Tampa General Hospital is unveiling plans to build a proton therapy center in the Tampa Bay area.

Right now, the region is the only major market in Florida without it. One out of every two patients receive radiation as part of their cancer care, so right now they’re forced to travel for this therapy.

Dr. Richard Tuli, professor and director of radiation oncology at the University of South Florida and TGH explains the cutting-edge radiation, “it works with an individual proton particle, that when directed specifically at a tumor, travels to the tumor, sits within that tumor and deposits all of its energy within the tumor. Also, it allows us to avoid dose to the normal tissues around the tumor.” 

He says the treatment is most beneficial in cases where tumors are close to critical organs or wrapped around the brain or spinal cord. 

“For our pediatric, our young adult patients, proton therapy is really considered the best standard of care, irrespective of the type of tumor or where it is located,” says Tuli.

Dr. Tuli explains that standard radiation has to exit the tumor and the body, creating an extra pathway and additional side effects. 

He says, “proton therapy is potentially one of those advances that may allow us, in the near future, to give enough dose so that maybe surgery may not be needed.”

Groundbreaking on the center is planned for 2022.

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