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Treatments

Proton therapy

Proton therapy is a technologically advanced, precise treatment that allows radiation to be focused directly on a tumor, with a goal of minimizing radiation to healthy tissue. Research shows that proton therapy can minimize short- and long-term side effects, reduce the occurrence of secondary tumors, and improve a patient’s quality of life.

Side effects A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores.

SCCA Proton Therapy Center

Located on the UW Medical Center Northwest campus at 1570 N 115th St. Seattle, WA 98133
phone (206) 306-2800
Monday – Friday 8 am to 5 pm
fax (206) 417-0467

There are fewer than 100 proton therapy centers worldwide that offer this state-of-the-art technology, and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) Proton Therapy Center, led by world-class experts in proton therapy, is the only facility of its kind in a seven-state region. 

“It’s a privilege that my job is to help people in their time of need. Work doesn’t feel like work when you know what you’re doing is meaningful.”
— Jing Zeng, MD, Medical Director

Adults and children

Proton radiation therapy can be used to treat a broad range of tumors in adults and children, such as brain, central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, head and neck, breast, lung and prostate, as well as sarcomas. It can also help patients whose cancers have recurred, and patients who can’t tolerate additional conventional radiation therapy. 

Gastrointestinal Refers to the stomach and intestines. Also called GI. Radiation therapy The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood to tissues throughout the body.

What is proton therapy

Proton therapy is an advanced radiation treatment that precisely targets tumors, with the goal of minimizing radiation to healthy tissue and improving the lives of patients while they’re fighting cancer and after. Learn more about what proton therapy is, its benefits and how it can help cancer patients.

Treatment

At your first in-person appointment, you’ll meet with your radiation oncologist and a nurse to discuss proton therapy, your treatment and any tests you may need before treatment can begin.

You’ll also meet other members of your care team, such as a radiation therapist and patient navigator/concierge, who will work with you throughout your treatment and follow-up care. This is also a time for us to get to know you and your family and for you to get answers to any remaining questions you may have about proton radiation therapy.

Simulation and planning 

After your first appointment and you’ve completed any additional tests you may need, we will schedule you for a computed tomography simulation (CT) scan.  This scan will be used by your care team to create a personalized treatment plan for you. The plan will provide important details, including the exact dose of protons your physician will need to precisely target your tumor.

This scan will take up to two hours, including preparation time. A nurse will also explain the process from CT simulation through the end of treatment and answer any questions you may have.

Treatment

Treatments are usually given five days a week, for a period of one to nine weeks. The total number of treatments needed depends on the location and size of the tumor. We'll guide you through every step of the treatment process, and make sure you and your family have the information and resources you need.

Computed tomography A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are taken from different angles and are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly. This scan may be used to help diagnose disease, plan treatment or find out how well treatment is working. Computed tomography A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A procedure that uses a computer linked to an X-ray machine to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. The pictures are taken from different angles and are used to create three-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the tissues and organs show up more clearly. This scan may be used to help diagnose disease, plan treatment or find out how well treatment is working. Oncologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment, such as treating cancer with radiation. A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation. Patient navigator A person who helps guide a patient through the health care system. This includes help going through the screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of a medical condition, such as cancer. A person who helps guide a patient through the health care system. This includes help going through the screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of a medical condition, such as cancer. A patient navigator helps patients communicate with their health care providers so they get the information they need to make decisions about their care. Patient navigators may help patients set up appointments for physician visits and medical tests and get financial, legal and social support. They may also work with insurance companies, employers, case managers, lawyers and others who may have an effect on a patient’s health care needs. Also called a patient advocate. Radiation therapy The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood to tissues throughout the body. Treatment plan A detailed plan with information about a patient’s disease, the goal of treatment, the treatment options for the disease and the possible side effects and expected length of treatment. A detailed plan with information about a patient’s disease, the goal of treatment, the treatment options for the disease and the possible side effects and expected length of treatment. A treatment plan may also include information about how much the treatment is likely to cost and about regular follow-up care after treatment ends.

Care team

The radiation oncologists who provide clinical care at the SCCA Proton Therapy Center will plan your course of therapy, manage your clinical care and conduct weekly check-ups to ensure that your treatment is on track. All of our physicians are specialists in proton therapy and treat all disease types at the Proton Center.

Your radiation oncologist is the leader of your personal care team and will manage your care with the support of other highly skilled medical professionals trained in providing proton therapy, including radiation therapists, nurses, physicists and dosimetrists. We integrate supportive care services, such as social workers, child life specialists, registered dietitians and integrative medicine specialists, to promote your well-being in every sense.

Integrative medicine Combines conventional (standard) medical treatment with complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies that have been shown to be safe and to work. CAM therapies treat the mind, body and spirit. Oncologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment, such as treating cancer with radiation. A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation. Radiation oncologist A physician who has special training in using radiation to treat cancer.

Research

The physician-scientists at SCCA have been at the forefront of cancer research for decades, in order to help bring patients the best treatment options possible.  

Patients who participate in our clinical studies often have the first chance to benefit from new treatment approaches and contribute to medical science regarding proton therapy.

Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease.

Telehealth consultations available

At the SCCA Proton Therapy Center, we now offer convenient telehealth appointments for new and existing patients from the state of Washington to discuss treatment options and follow-up care from home. 

During a telehealth consultation, you will meet with your physician via videoconferencing or by phone to discuss your cancer type and treatment options, including proton therapy. If you are an existing SCCA patient, you may also have the option to complete your follow-up appointments during treatment via telehealth.   

When the time comes to visit the Center in person, you can rest assured that we are taking increased precautions to keep both patients and staff safe in light of the COVID-19 virus.