Southwest Florida Proton has selected a site in south Lee County for a cancer treatment center that will feature cutting-edge technology, innovative cancer care and world-class radiation oncologists.

The 35,000-square-foot medical building will be built on 4.4 acres at 9961 Estero Oaks Drive at the northwest corner of Estero Parkway and Three Oaks Parkway, with easy access to Southwest Florida International Airport and I-75. It will be the first proton therapy center 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.

“Southwest Florida Proton will be a beacon for cancer care in Southwest Florida and beyond,” said Dr. Arie Dosoretz, a Fort Myers-based board-certified radiation oncologist who is helping establish the treatment center. “We envision Southwest Florida Proton as a destination for cancer patients seeking the best cancer care, both from a patient-doctor relationship and a patient-technology standpoint. This center will elevate cancer care to the highest level.”

Dosoretz, a founding partner of Advocate Radiation Oncology, has secured a team of private investors that will finance the purchase of complex medical equipment, construction costs and operation of the treatment center.

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. The building also will provide diagnostic imaging capabilities and house exam rooms, administrative offices and other spaces.

The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) lists 34 proton centers in the U.S. and three under development. Southwest Florida Proton will be the first center on the southwest coast of Florida. The NAPT notes 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 have indicated 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.

“Our goal with Advocate Radiation Oncology and Southwest Florida Proton is to offer world-class radiation treatments that are convenient to our patients,” Dosoretz said. “We have grown Advocate from our first center in Port Charlotte, which opened in July 2019, to seven convenient centers located in Southwest and Southeast Florida, and have several additional locations currently under development. Southwest Florida Proton will provide a truly powerful modality currently missing in our cancer treatment landscape.”

Dosoretz also noted that Southwest Florida Proton is likely to ignite medical tourism for the region.

“The cancer community is extremely well-informed, and patients travel near and far to be treated by the nation’s top doctors,” Dosoretz said. “The Estero location is convenient for residents of Southwest Florida, but its proximity to the airport, hotels, restaurants and attractions makes it appealing to out-of-state patients who can enjoy the region’s assets while undergoing treatment.”

Groundbreaking is slated for summer 2022. Dosoretz expects Southwest Florida Proton to be functioning in late 2023 with the first proton therapy treatments available in 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.