A year ago, the CDH Proton Center, a ProCure center located near Chicago in Warrenville, Illinois, treated its first patients, 24 months after construction began. The center has now welcomed its 100th patient.
The CDH Proton Center celebrated a milestone in July, completing treatment on its 100th patient since opening last October. “After the celebration, one of the patients said, ‘What are you going to do for the 200th patient?’” says James R. Williams, President, CDH Proton Center, A ProCure Center. “I hadn’t thought about it at that point, but I knew that milestone would come much more quickly than treating the first 100 patients. Less than three weeks later, we started treating our 200th patient.”
Located in Warrenville, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, the Center is the state’s first and only proton therapy facility. The Center represents a collaboration between Central DuPage Hospital, Radiation Oncology Consultants and ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. Approximately 80 percent of patients treated at CDH Proton Center have come from Illinois, but they have also traveled from 16 other states, as well as from the United Kingdom, says Williams. “The patients we’ve treated, especially early on, knew a lot about proton therapy. Many were early adopters who had been waiting for the building to be finished.”
Currently, the Center is running five of eight treatment shifts, employing between 70 and 75 people. When full treatment capacity is reached, the Center expects to treat 1,500 patients annually and employ about 100 staff members. Types of cancers treated thus far include brain, central nervous system, head and neck, lung, gastrointestinal tract and prostate, as well as sarcomas and pediatric cancers. Patients treated at the Center who require adjunct therapy, such as chemotherapy or conventional x-ray radiation, can receive it at neighboring Central DuPage Hospital or at a facility closer to the patients’ homes. “The Center has raised the tide for all boats in the oncology market here,” says Williams. “For patients needing additional medical services, we can refer them to the other specialists needed to continue their treatment.”
In addition to providing exemplary clinical care, Williams says it is important to carry a positive patient experience into non-treatment hours. “Patients and families are going to be at a hotel longer than they’re going to actually be at the Center. We want to ensure the experience they have at the Center carries through to where they stay during their treatment. The local hotels have done a very good job, some putting families up in suites that have cooking areas, doing grocery shopping for the family and providing transportation. We have some great partners in the community that really embrace what we’re doing here,” he says. “Our staff is empowered by some of the most sophisticated technology and science currently available,” says Williams. “They’re incredibly excited about what they’re doing. They realize we’re changing the way cancer is being managed. That’s the beauty of it: We all know we’re making a difference.”