Proton Therapy

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Proton Therapy Facts

SCCA Proton Therapy, A ProCure Center opened its doors to cancer patients in March 2013. There are about a dozen facilities in the U.S. that offer proton therapy; we are the only provider in the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to make this advanced treatment available to approximately 1,400 patients each year at our 60,000-square-foot facility, which is located on UW Medicine's Northwest Hospital & Medical Center campus.

First theorized as a powerful and precise destroyer of cancer cells in 1946, the use of proton therapy was initially explored in clinical trials in Europe in 1950. Proton therapy has been in clinical use in the U.S. since the 1970s; the FDA approved it in 1988. To date, about 40,000 people have received proton therapy in the U.S. and more than 80,000 people have been treated worldwide. 

Today, proton therapy is widely recognized as beneficial in treating a broad range of cancers, including many pediatric cancers, as well as adult sarcomas and tumors of the brain, central nervous system, GI tract, head and neck, lung, and prostate. Proton therapy is most commonly recommended for patients in treating anatomically complex tumors where avoiding damage to healthy adjoining tissue—particularly critical organs and structures—is imperative. Browse through the sections below to learn more about proton therapy.

How Proton Therapy Works

Learn the difference in physical characteristics and treatment delivery between X-rays (photons) and protons, and how this impacts both the clinical effectiveness and potential side effects of these radiation therapies.

The Benefits of Proton Therapy

Proton beam radiation can be precisely modulated to deliver cancer-killing treatment with minimal harm to surrounding healthy tissues. This section lays out the key benefits of this emerging technology.

The Physics of Proton Therapy

Protons are positively charged atomic particles whose energy can be precisely harnessed to kill cancer cells.


The more you know about your disease, the more empowered you'll feel. This list of reputable sources about proton therapy makes gathering information easy.