Community and health care leaders celebrated the final pour of the foundation for Southwest Florida Proton, a cutting-edge cancer treatment center being built in Estero.
Once complete, Southwest Florida Proton will provide cancer patients with access to state-of-the-art technology, innovative cancer care and world-class radiation oncologists. The cancer treatment center will be the first of its kind on Florida’s west coast.
Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses charged proton particles to destroy cancer cells. Protons have the unique ability to travel into a target and not beyond it, which can reduce potential side effects and complications during and after cancer treatments.
Florida is home to six of the nation’s 42 proton therapy centers. Two are in Miami and two are in Jacksonville, while Orlando and Delray Beach are each home to one proton therapy center.
“Southwest Florida residents and visitors deserve access to every tool that we have in our cancer-fighting arsenal,” said Dr. Arie Dosoretz, a founding partner of Advocate Radiation Oncology who is helping to develop Southwest Florida Proton. “This initiative will be a game-changer for cancer care in our region.”
At a celebration event held June 14 at Southwest Florida Proton’s future location, 9961 Estero Oaks Drive in south Lee County, Dosoretz announced Lee Healthcare Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lee Health, is a project investor. Lee Health will provide a radiology suite with Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) capabilities. Advocate Radiation Oncology will provide physician services at Southwest Florida Proton.
“We are excited to be a part of bringing this state-of-the-art technology and forward-thinking cancer care to Southwest Florida,” said Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, president and CEO for Lee Health. “Lee Health is pleased to be able to work with such like-minded partners who are focused on establishing Southwest Florida as a destination for cutting edge, first-rate cancer care.”
Investors are financing the purchase of complex medical equipment, construction costs and operation of the treatment center, which has an estimated $80 million construction and capital cost. The 35,000-square-foot medical building, located at the northwest corner of Estero Parkway and Three Oaks Parkway, offers easy access to Southwest Florida International Airport and I-75, and is positioned directly between Naples and Fort Myers.
The centerpiece of Southwest Florida Proton will be Ion Beam Application’s ProteusONE, a machine that delivers the most clinically advanced form of proton radiation therapy. In addition to diagnostic imaging capabilities, the building also will house exam rooms, administrative offices and other spaces.
According to the National Association for Proton Therapy, proton therapy is an effective treatment option for cancers of the brain and spine, breast, esophagus, head and neck, liver, lung, eye, pancreas and prostate, as well as lymphomas and soft tissue sarcomas. Studies indicate that proton therapy can be a safe option for patients that have undergone prior radiation treatment and can reduce the long-term risks of radiation in pediatric cancer patients.
“Southwest Florida Proton’s new location in Estero will expand access to a life-changing, life-saving treatment offering hope to cancer patients with the promise of improved outcomes and enhanced quality of life,” said Jennifer Maggiore, executive director of the National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT). “This is a great step forward for cancer treatment and exciting news for cancer patients in Southwest Florida and beyond.”
Construction on Southwest Florida Proton is expected to continue into 2024.
For more information, please visit SWFLproton.com.
About Southwest Florida Proton
Southwest Florida Proton in Estero will deliver top-tier cancer care to patients with a variety of cancers, including brain and spine, breast, esophagus, head and neck, liver, lung, eye, pancreas and prostate, as well as lymphomas and soft tissue sarcomas. World-class, experienced doctors will use cutting-edge technology to provide top-tier care. Please visit SWFLproton.com for additional information.