Construction of the first proton therapy center to open in the Tampa Bay area is set to begin at St. Joseph’s Hospital Cancer Institute, bringing technologically advanced treatment closer to home for local cancer patients.

Proton therapy delivers precise radiation treatments to cancerous tumors, using protons instead of X-rays to better target cancer and reduce the amount of radiation exposure to healthy tissue. As a result, patients report few side effects and have a lower risk of secondary malignancies.

“Proton therapy is the most technologically advanced type of cancer treatment and is proven to improve outcomes in cancer care; however, it is not yet widely available,” said BayCare President and CEO Stephanie Conners. “BayCare is bringing the first proton radiation therapy center to Tampa so patients in our community don’t have to drive to Orlando or beyond to get this level of high-quality care.”

The $33m investment will be located in St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Fred J. Woods Radiation Therapy Center and proton therapy treatment is expected to be available by fall 2025.

The system at St. Joseph’s will be an advancement to optimize our cancer treatment services across all of BayCare, including our other accredited radiation oncology programs at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and Winter Haven Hospital in Winter Haven.

“The ability to target cancer cells with improved precision and accuracy is invaluable. The reduced exposure of radiation to healthy tissue helps patients limit their complications, particularly when the cancer is near a vital structure. It is also a great benefit for kids, whose bodies and tissues are still growing,” said Nitesh Paryani, M.D., St. Joseph’s Hospital’s medical director of radiation oncology. “Proton therapy can be used to treat many forms of cancer and will be a welcome asset to cancer care in the Tampa Bay community.”

BayCare can offer this new advanced therapy to patients on an expedited timeline compared to other proton therapy installations due to the development of new technology that is smaller in size and can easily integrate to existing infrastructures.

The latest technology in development from Mevion Medical Systems empowers the most compact proton therapy system, combining high-precision modern radiation delivery techniques with an upright patient positioning system designed to improve patient comfort.

BayCare and St. Joseph’s Hospitals goal is to support and help patients in the battle against cancer by offering the best in specialized cancer care with board-certified cancer specialists, advanced technology and cutting-edge cancer research.

The BayCare network of care for cancer patients spans across four counties for an integrated system encompassing hospitals, surgery centers, breast centers, radiation services, mastectomy resources, infusion and chemotherapy centers, oncology physician offices, patient resources, and support group locations.

Source: Company Press Release