KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A milestone in medicine for the KC metro: Doctors at the University of Kansas Cancer Center are treating their first patients with proton radiation therapy.

The world class team of doctors believe this will be a game changer for the region. One Kansas City area family agrees.

People often times have to travel hundreds of miles to get cutting-edge proton therapy treatment. Lisa Webb and her family live in Overland Park. She was looking to relocate, away from her family, for a six-week treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona – that is, until a new option opened in Kansas City, Kansas.

Webb has skull base meningioma. A tumor is wrapped around the main artery to her brain and her left optical nerve, causing several migraines a week and vision loss in her left eye.

“It’s been hard. Long days,” Webb described.

She was diagnosed last October and had surgery in November. Doctors could only remove 25% of the tumor because of its challenging location. A giant stop sign to surgery is where proton therapy comes in.

“We can deliver the treatment with pencil beam accuracy,” Dr. Ronnie Rotondo said. “So it’s really a very precise, focused treatment that maximizes radiation within the tumor and minimizes the radiation in the surrounding normal tissue.”

Rotondo said that’ll cut her risk of vision loss, plus issues with memory and concentration because the laser therapy won’t target the good cells while it kills the bad.

“It’s giving me hope that it’s going to stop growing,” Webb said.

Webb is the first adult patient at the new proton therapy center. It’s now one of 39 proton centers in the country and the first and only one in our region.

“I just take it easy,” Webb said. “Take it day by day.”

Webb can’t imagine having to travel to get her treatment out of state. She also says having her support system here helps her get through long days.

“Being with my family,” Webb said. “Having a dinner at home and try to be as normal as possible.”

Webb will continue treatment over the next six weeks and doctors will continue monitoring her tumor.

Learn more about the proton therapy center online and requesting an appointment by phone.