University of Pennsylvania Health System

Focus on Cancer

Abramson Cancer Center designated CCC by NCI

The Cure is Within at the Abramson Cancer Center

Monday, February 6, 2012

Proton Therapy Center at Penn Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

Dr. Stephen Hahn is Chair and Professor of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is board certified in radiation oncology, medical oncology, and internal medicine and is internationally renowned for his work in Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). At Penn, he was Director of the PDT program from 1996 until 2006, and he continues as a senior advisor to the program.

Since its opening in January 2010, Penn’s Roberts Proton Therapy Center remains the world’s largest proton therapy center physically located within a comprehensive cancer center and has treated hundreds of people with cancer using a most sophisticated and precise form of radiation therapy.

Proton therapy is radiation therapy that uses positive-charged protons accelerated at very high speeds to create a particle beam. While protons work very much like conventional radiation therapy in killing cancer cells, the speed and energy of the proton beam allows for more accurate targeting of tumors with, in many cases, the potential for less damage to surrounding normal tissue.

As the Roberts Proton Therapy Center enters its third year, Penn researchers continue to establish the optimal uses of proton therapy as an effective tool for treating a wide range of cancers including:
One of the most exciting and emerging applications for proton therapy treatment is the retreatment of many cancers previously treated with radiation. For these patients, proton therapy can be a viable treatment option when other approaches have failed.

Currently, there are only nine proton therapy facilities in the United States, but even among this select group, the Roberts Proton Therapy Center stands out as a leader in treatment and research. The Roberts Center has the advantage of being part of a world class academic medical center, Penn Medicine, and an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. The Abramson Cancer Center brings together top experts in every cancer-related specialty in one extraordinary facility. Penn’s team of cancer specialists works together to develop individualized treatment plans, ensuring that every patient has the benefit of the best treatment options available. The Roberts Center also offers advanced technologies such as multileaf collimators that are not available at any other proton center in the world.

In addition to an internationally recognized clinical and research faculty, both the Abramson Cancer Center and the Roberts Proton Therapy Center deliver care in a supportive and comfortable environment. Support services including patient navigation, social work, counseling and integrative healing modalities are readily available to all patients.

The delivery of exceptional, high quality patient care is the highest priority and all patients are treated with the highest level of clinical expertise combined with compassionate care for the patient, as well as family members and caregivers.

A variety of educational programs are available to patients before receiving radiation therapy treatment and Penn’s radiation therapy experts are always available to answer questions at any time.

To ensure the highest level of comfort to patients who are undergoing radiation therapy treatment, free valet parking is available at Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, where the Penn Radiation Oncology is located. This service is available throughout the entire course of treatment.

The innovation of radiation therapy as a treatment for many types of cancer is at the core of Penn Radiation Oncology. Every day, Penn’s radiation oncologists work as part of a comprehensive cancer team dedicated to offering and delivering every possible treatment option to people with cancer. This team looks forward to continuing and enhancing the use of proton therapy in the fight against cancer.

Stephen M. Hahn, MD
Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology
Penn Medicine

Watch Dr. Hahn discuss proton therapy at Penn Medicine in this video. 

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