Short stuff: Health roundup
A new approach to treating pediatric cancer will be available in several years, with the construction of a proton therapy center in Warrenville.
The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board recently approved construction of a Proton Therapy Center of Central DuPage Hospital. The facility, expected to be treating patients by the first quarter of 2011, will provide thousands of cancer patients in Illinois access to an advanced form of radiation treatment without many side effects.
Dr. William F. Hartsell, president of Radiation Oncology Consultants Ltd. says, "most types of pediatric cancers would benefit most from proton therapy, especially brain tumors, tumors of the eyes and face, lymphomas and solid tumors of the spine, kidney, liver, muscles, abdomen and pelvis."
In some cases, tumors that cannot be treated with standard radiation therapy can be treated by protons, he says.
At present, there are only five such treatment centers in the U.S. Having a facility in Illinois will mean patients and families will not have to travel long distances for treatment.
Ultimately, says Hartsell, the principal benefit for children being treated at the center will be that they will have fewer side effects during and after treatment.
"More of the children treated with protons will be able to return to normal health after the treatment is completed," Hartsell says.