Choosing a Proton Center
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
With a prostate cancer, Gleason score 7, I have chosen treatment with proton therapy. The question I have for you is: Loma Linda has the most experience, but they are not available for several months. MD Anderson and University of Florida are less experienced with about 2 years each. Should one chose to wait for experience or choose one of the new guys? And, of the new guys, how do you pick one?
James M. Metz, MD, Editor-in-Chief of OncoLink and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:
Proton therapy is one of many options for the treatment of prostate cancer, and is certainly a reasonable decision. Loma Linda has had significant experience with prostate cancer and proton therapy, in fact, more than any other institution. That being said, each of the other institutions you have mentioned also delivers excellent treatment. All radiation oncologists are trained to treat the prostate with radiation therapy, and the fundamental principles do not change for proton therapy. Each of these institutions has concentrated on the treatment of prostate cancer since opening their facilities. If going for protons, I would pick the facility that is most convenient with regards to travel and timeliness of treatment.