Revolutionizing Radiation: Proton Therapy Treatment at the New York Proton Center

VIDEO | 01:47

Join MSK radiation oncologist Nancy Lee on a tour of the New York Proton Center and see what it’s like to receive a highly targeted form of radiation called proton therapy.

Show transcript

Before treatment can even begin, I work closely with expert medical physicists like Dr. Chang here, to come up with the best solution for your case.

Unlike traditional radiation, which uses x-ray beams, proton therapy uses beams of highly charged particles called proton and depending on where your tumor is located we will customize, personalize to millimeter accuracy where the proton beam will shape according to your tumor while protecting all the surrounding normal tissue.

These protons are generated from a machine called the cyclotron.

The cyclotron is actually located in the bunker at the back of the building.

The cyclotron delivers the protons to the gantry where it is located behind the treatment room.

You might be surprised to hear such a massive machine weighing over 300 tons can deliver cancer treatment with incredible precision.

During treatment, which lasts just a few minutes, patients don't feel any pain.

And on average you'll have treatment five days a week for three to nine weeks.

We're proud to say nearly 540 patients — of which 70 to 75% come from Memorial Sloan Kettering — received this revolutionary treatment during the New York Proton Center’s first year, making this one of the busiest proton centers in the country.

At the end of the day, we use proton therapy to treat our patients safely by giving them the quality of life that they can have so that they can go back to living their lives to the fullest.