Proton Beam Therapy

Proton therapy uses low-intensity radiation to target cancerous tumors. With extreme precision, the beam destroys tumors without damaging healthy tissue and also reduces the chance for side effects and long-term complications.

Our Capabilities

Our Proton Therapy Center is the only one of its kind within 200 miles and one of only a few centers in the U.S. The center also houses the only gantry fully dedicated to basic proton research in the world.

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Our Proton Therapy Center brings the world's most innovative technologies right here to Cincinnati. The center's team of subspecialists use the power of science to deliver radiation treatment that is custom-designed to your cancer.

To schedule an appointment, please call the Proton Therapy Center team at 513-585-UCCC.

Help Along the Way

Answers to Your Proton Beam Therapy Questions

Proton beam therapy is a type of radiation used to treat many kinds of cancer. Unlike standard radiation that typically delivers high doses of radiation, proton beam therapy radiation is delivered at a low intensity and stops once it reaches the tumor it is targeting.

Due to its low level of radiation, proton beam therapy minimizes damage to healthy tissues, avoiding other organs. It also typically has fewer side effects than conventional radiation therapy.

Many different types of cancers can be treated with proton therapy, including: 

  • Brain tumors. 
  • Breast cancer. 
  • Colorectal and anal cancers. 
  • Esophageal cancer. 
  • Gynecologic cancers. 
  • Head and neck cancers. 
  • Lung cancer. 
  • Lymphoma. 
  • Pancreatic Cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer. 
  • Sarcomas. 
  • Childhood Cancers. 
  • Recurrent Cancers.

After a decision is made to begin proton radiotherapy, there are some critical planning steps that are necessary before the actual treatments start. The first planning step is called CT simulation. The simulation visit typically takes about two hours. You will meet with the radiation oncologist who will review the side effects and risks before you agree to treatment.

You will go to the simulation room, where one or more devices are custom-made for you. These devices help keep you in the same position during your treatment. The devices include individualized head masks and/or body molds, depending on where the tumor is located.

After the devices are created, you will have a nondiagnostic CT scan of the area of the body being treated. Photos are taken to aid the radiation therapists in setting up your treatment each day.

After CT simulation, a proton treatment plan is made just for you to deliver your daily treatment. The treatment plan includes details about the size, shape and positioning of each of the proton beams used during treatment. Treatment planning is a complex process involving your radiation oncologist, medical physicists and specially trained treatment planning assistants called dosimetrists. Treatment planning can take approximately 10–14 business days.

Our radiation therapists will schedule a time for your daily treatments. Proton treatments are usually given once daily, five days a week. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to check in. We know how valuable your time is and will do our best to be on schedule. However, on occasion, emergencies or technical problems cause a delay. We appreciate your understanding and will do our best to keep you informed should a delay occur. Daily treatments typically take about 30 minutes. The great majority

of that time is spent adjusting your position for treatment, getting images to make sure the beam goes to the exact right spot in your body. The time it takes to deliver the proton radiation is usually only three to five minutes.

During your course of proton therapy treatment, you will see your radiation oncologist every week. These visits will take place before or after one of your daily treatments on your scheduled day. During these visits, your radiation oncologist evaluates you for side effects of treatment and addresses any medical issues or questions that you may have. On-treatment visits usually last about 15 minutes. If at any time during your treatment you have questions, a doctor is always available for consultation. 

Though most patients receive proton treatments five days per week, there are times when treatment is interrupted and fewer treatments are given. In some cases, a break in the treatment schedule may be necessary due to side effects that come up during treatment. At other times, the proton equipment may require maintenance. The proton center is closed on a few holidays. We will do our best to minimize any treatment breaks.

Why UC Health

Experience and Expertise

Transforming Treatment

As an extension of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the Proton Therapy Center transforms radiotherapy to deliver hope to patients throughout the region.

Convenient Care

Our Proton Therapy Center is one of only 30 centers of its kind in the U.S. and the only one within 200 miles, so our patients can receive treatment right here in Cincinnati.

Subspecialized Training

Our physicians have traveled as far as Florida, California and Switzerland to receive subspeciality training in providing proton beam therapy treatment.

Leading-Edge Research

Our Proton Therapy Center houses the only gantry fully dedicated to basic proton research in the world. This research helps to keep us at the leading edge of cancer care.

Powerful Technology

We deliver precise proton radiation by accelerating hydrogen ions to high speeds — approximately two-thirds the speed of light — inside of a 90-ton device called a cyclotron.

Low-Intensity Treatment, High-Level Care

Protons enter the body at a low intensity and come to a complete stop once they reach a tumor, reducing harmful side effects and long-term complications.

Partner with Us

Referring Physicians: Success and Provider Toolbox

We are committed to providing optimal care to your patient and open communication with you. We understand that as a referring physician, you need to be kept informed on your patient’s progress. That’s why we set up a toolbox to share detailed information about your patient’s health with you.

For referral information, call:

Featured Insight

Passion, Persistence Drive Radiation Oncologist

Everyone is affected by cancer in some way — that’s one of the reasons Dr. Jordan Kharofa, radiation oncologist, is committed to advancing the field. Dr. Kharofa was a resident researching pancreatic cancer when his work became personal.

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At UC Health, we lead the region in scientific discoveries and embrace a spirit of purpose – offering our patients and their families something beyond everyday healthcare. At UC Health, we offer hope.