SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News)- Officials at the Hunstman Cancer Institute (HCI) broke ground on a new center named in honor of Senator Orrin Hatch on Tuesday.
“The Senator Orrin G. Hatch Center for Proton Therapy” will be a $31 million addition to the south end of HCI’s Cancer Hospital and the first proton therapy center in the Mountain West.
Proton therapy is a type of cancer treatment that delivers beams of radiation to shrink a tumor.
According to HCI officials, approximately half of all cancer patients receive some type of radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment. Proton therapy delivers a specialized type of radiation and is the favored approach for many tumors in and around vital structures, such as the spinal cord and brain stem. It is also the preferred treatment for certain childhood cancers.
“Senator Hatch has been a steadfast supporter of Huntsman Cancer Institute since day one,” said Peter Huntsman, chairman and CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. “Senator Hatch’s support completely changed the landscape for cancer care in our region. Thus, we think it is most fitting to name in his honor this new center that will provide a critical new resource to patients in our region.” Zions Bank also provided a contribution to the naming of the center.
Haakon Albaugh was 15 when he was diagnosed with germinoma in 2017, a type of brain tumor that usually affects kids. He said proton therapy helped reduce the tumor’s size, without damaging the surrounding tissue.
His mother said the tumor was causing fluid buildup in the brain.
“We love it,” said Albaugh. “Proton therapy is our new best friend.”
The center will serve about 200 patients a year. It is anticipated to begin treating patients in 2020.