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Learn more about Proton Therapy

Want to know even more about the benefits of proton therapy for prostate cancer, brain cancer and other cancers? Contact us, or visit floridaproton.org.

University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute

Learn the facts about treating prostate cancer, brain cancer and other cancers with proton therapy at the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute.

When you're exploring different cancer treatment options, accurate information is key. One of the most important things to consider about cancer treatment options is the quality of life following treatment - the treatment's effectiveness and the risk of side effects.

FACT: Proton therapy successfully treats many kinds of cancer.

Many cancers can be treated successfully with proton therapy. UF Health Proton Therapy Institute currently treats the following: bone cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, eye cancer, head and neck cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, pediatric cancer, prostate cancer and sarcoma.

FACT: Proton radiation therapy treats cancer with high success rates and a low risk of side effects.

Because proton therapy delivers such precise doses of radiation to tumors, doctors and therapists are able to target the cancers with higher levels of proton radiation. This means that more cancer-destroying radiation is delivered to the tumor, with less exposure to the healthy tissues that surround the cancer. Increasing evidence of proton therapy's superiority to other forms of radiation is being reported every day. A recent letter from The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) documents the mounting evidence and answers other common myths about proton therapy. To learn more, click here.

FACT: The risk of secondary cancers may be lower with proton therapy than with other cancer treatments.

Some data suggests that the risk of secondary cancers is actually lower with proton therapy when treating prostate cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, brain tumors and cancer in children.

FACT: The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute is one of only 50 centers of its kind worldwide, and the only one in Florida.

Since 2006, the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute has treated patients from 49 states and 23 countries. That's because proton radiation therapy is offered at so few centers in the United States and around the world. And proton radiation therapy's benefits — including high cure rates and a low risk of side effects — make it well worth traveling for. Jacksonville-area patients who are considering proton therapy for prostate cancer, brain cancer or other cancers can count on a world-class treatment that's close to home.

FACT: Proton therapy is one of the most advanced cancer treatment options available today.

Although the technology that proton therapy is based on originated many decades ago, so did the technology behind X-ray and gamma rays — and none of these treatments is out of date. What makes proton therapy a modern choice for cancer treatment is the method of radiation delivery, making protons applicable to a greater variety of tumors, including prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and brain cancer. Only recently has proton radiation been available in large gantry delivery systems, which make proton delivery possible to cancer throughout the body.

FACT: The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute is a nonprofit medical research and treatment center.

The technologists, physicians, nurses and therapists at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute are committed to providing the most advanced radiation therapy possible — without regard to their own financial interest. Proceeds at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute go toward research, and to helping other patients benefit from proton therapy. We are affiliated with the University of Florida and UF Health, the premier academic health center in the state and region.

FACT: More than 98% of UF Health Proton Therapy Institute patients say they would "definitely recommend" our treatment to others seeking cancer treatment for tumors in the brain, lung, prostate and other types of cancers.

The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute provides proton radiation therapy to patients in a warm, caring environment. And since proton therapy has a low risk of side effects, patients are able to continue with their daily routines — even participate in extracurricular activities with other patients.

FACT: Proton therapy is covered by most insurance providers and Medicare.

Proton therapy for prostate cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer and other cancers is often covered by insurance, making it an accessible cancer treatment option for many patients. To learn more about proton therapy, and whether your insurance provider offers coverage, contact us today.

FACT: Clinical data show that proton therapy is an effective treatment for prostate cancer.

Long-term data from Loma Linda University and UF Health Proton Therapy Institute show that proton therapy is an effective prostate cancer treatment with low risk of serious side effects like incontinence or impotence.

FACT: 99% of patients who choose proton radiation therapy for prostate cancer treatment are cancer free and with excellent quality of life.

At five years, 99% of men with early and intermediate prostate cancer are cancer free, and 76% of men with advanced prostate cancer are cancer free. The vast majority of men treated with protons reported excellent quality of life following treatment. There were no cases of incontinence. Patients and physicians reported low rates of bowel problems and impotence. The results of the five-year outcomes study were reported in 2014 in the leading medical journal for radiation oncology. Mendenhall, NP et al. Five-Year Outcomes from 3 Prospective Trials of Image-Guided Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer. Int J Radiation Oncol Biol Phys 2014 March; 88(3):596-602.

FACT: Proton therapy for prostate cancer treatment produces fewer severe side effects than brachytherapy.

As far as cure rates go, proton therapy and brachytherapy have been shown to produce similar outcomes. Patients undergoing brachytherapy, however, may be more likely to experience side effects, especially severe toxicity to the bladder and rectum. What's more, some patients are given hormone therapy to make them more favorable for brachytherapy; it is important to know two things about this practice. First, these patients may have higher complications from the hormone therapy. These complications may include hot flashes, fatigue, depression, loss of libido, and erectile dysfunction. Some of these symptoms may remain even after hormone therapy is stopped.

Brachytherapy is a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia that, for some patients, may carry some risk of complications. As with any surgical procedure, there is potential for infection. Since proton therapy is not a surgical procedure, it does not have the risks associated with anesthesia or other surgical complications.