The INTEGRIS Cancer Institute of Oklahoma and the ProCure Proton Therapy Center announce a breakthrough treatment approach for anal canal cancer. For the first time in the United States proton therapy is now being used to treat this type of cancer.
"In the past, patients with gastrointestinal cancers, specifically those in the pelvis, have rarely had proton therapy as an option because the required field size and depths were too large. By using protons and uniform scanning technology, we can overcome these obstacles," explains Sameer Keole, M.D., medical director of the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City. "The precision of proton therapy allows for the tumor to be treated with much greater accuracy, with less risk to healthy tissue permitting a more tolerable course of treatment for our patients."
Physicians who treat patients at the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute of Oklahoma and the ProCure Proton Therapy Center recently developed this new protocol and have successfully treated their first anal canal cancer patient, the first in the country to receive such treatment.
Traditional forms of radiation therapy could have been used to treat this patient, but the dose to the intestines and bladder would have been twice as high, a risk the patient was unwilling to take.
In addition to proton therapy, the patient also received chemotherapy at the newly established INTEGRIS Gastrointestinal Center of Excellence located on the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute of Oklahoma Proton campus.
While treatment options for gastrointestinal cancers such as surgery, chemotherapy and traditional radiation therapy are available elsewhere, what sets this campus apart from any other cancer treatment facility in the country is the ability to combine those treatment options with proton therapy, in a single location.
"With a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, GI surgeons and gastroenterologists, patients and their families have access to a medical team that will map out all available treatment options," says Brian Geister, M.D., medical director of hematology and medical oncology at the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute of Oklahoma. "And because the entire treatment team is at one location, patients can receive all consultations and evaluations in one or two days, rather than waiting weeks between appointments."
According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 250,000 new cases of gastrointestinal cancer were diagnosed last year. Access to the various treatment services under one roof with the supervision of collaborating physicians is more likely to result in higher success rates, as well as higher patient convenience and satisfaction.
The INTEGRIS Gastrointestinal Center of Excellence will focus on the care of patients with abnormalities of the digestive system, specifically anal, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, liver and colorectal cancers. Now many patients with certain gastrointestinal tumors who previously had few or no treatment options available may find hope.
INTEGRIS Cancer Institute of Oklahoma and ProCure Proton Therapy Center