What is Proton Therapy
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A Look Behind the Gantry

A Look Behind the Gantry

Our center has a lobby such as you’d find in a hotel, complete with fireplace, comfortable seating, and welcoming staff. But what’s behind the walls and floor? There’s an amazing array of equipment designed to disrupt cancer’s ability to replicate. The proton therapy process begins with the cyclotron, a space-age-looking, compact particle accelerator that uses electromagnetic waves to accelerate proton particles so they are ready to treat a patient. Read the cyclotron article here.

Diagram of a Cyclotron, beam line and gantry.

After they leave the cyclotron, the beam transport system then carries the accelerated protons into the treatment room.

SCCA Proton Therapy offers different rooms customized to meet patient needs. One of the treatment rooms is part of a huge, 3-story “mega structure” proton therapy system called a gantry. The treatment room is located on the second floor of the gantry.

The “mega structure” is roughly the same weight as two Boeing 747s. Note the man standing at the base to give you an idea of the size.

The large machinery is invisible to the patient in the treatment room. The rotating gantry moves around the patient so it can deliver the proton beam from any angle, including from the back.

The SCCA Proton Therapy gantry treatment room. Proton Therapy offers less radiation exposure to healthy tissue than traditional radiation.

“The rotation of the gantry allows for multiple treatment angles without the patient having to move,” says Jason Dixon, vice president of operations at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy Center.” This gives the radiation oncologists remarkable flexibility as they provide precise treatment.”

Patients lie on a “couch” to receive treatment in the gantry room.

We occasionally give tours of the center when you can peek behind the scenes at the structure of the gantry. Like our Facebook page to stay updated on happenings at the center.