There's a big breakthrough in the battle against breast cancer.
Doctors say new technology is making treatment safer, and the procedure is being pioneered right here in the metro.
ProCure in Oklahoma City is one of only 10 proton therapy centers across the country. With this type of treatment, patients are experiencing fewer side effects, and it's been successful in treating several forms of cancer.
Now, for the first time, doctors are using the technology to fight breast cancer.
"This machine rotates around the patient 360 degrees, and it has the resource of emitting protons from any angle you want," ProCure Oncologist Dr. Marcio Fagundes says, "we're targeting the area very precisely."
It targets specific cancer tumors, and it's safer, doctors say, than conventional radiation.
"One of the obstacles we've run into is when you're treating the area of the chest, very close to the heart, we don't want to expose the coronary arteries of the heart, and conventional radiation tends to do that," Dr. Fagundes said.
At ProCure, proton therapy has been used to treat prostate cancer and other tumors, but never breast cancer - until now.
In fact, it's one of only 3 treatment centers offering the breakthrough technology specifically for breast cancer patients. Doctors say proton therapy protects the heart and lungs.
"We're increasing the chances of curing a patient without causing a problem to the heart, so ultimately we're improving the treatment results," Dr. Fagundes said.
ProCure says each case is different, and patients need to talk to their specialists to decide on the best treatment for them.
The center is now accepting patients with stage one to stage three breast cancer.