California Protons Treats 3,000th Patient with Proton Therapy

| May 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

California Protons Cancer Therapy Center recently announced the treatment of its 3,000th patient with proton therapy since the Center opened in 2014. The Center, located at 9730 Summers Ridge Road in San Diego, has been in operation for six years, with California Protons operating it since December 2017.  

Proton therapy is a form of radiation treatment that is less invasive than traditional x-ray radiation. Protons stop at the tumor site and do not travel past it, resulting in less radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissues and organs, and a decrease in side effects and risks of secondary cancers. Primarily used for cancer treatment, in some cases proton therapy can also be used to treat non-cancerous tumors.

“We are honored to have had 3,000 patients entrust us with their care,” said Tom Wang, president of California Protons Cancer Therapy Center. “San Diego is fortunate to be one of only two cities in California to have this cancer modality available in their area. Because of this, people travel from all over California and neighboring states to access proton therapy treatment.”  

California Protons’ oncology team consists of some of the most experienced radiation oncologists in the proton space, internationally recognized and sought out by patients from around the world. With decades of combined experience in proton therapy, these physicians have treated more than 15,000 patients with proton therapy. 

One of the most common cancer types treated with proton therapy is prostate cancer. Each year more than 190,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Carl Rossi, MD, medical director of California Protons has treated over 12,000 prostate cancer patients during his 29-year career.

“Proton therapy is a valuable tool in the treatment of prostate cancer,” said Carl Rossi, MD.  “Because of the nature of protons and our pencil beam scanning technology, we are able to maximize the radiation dose within the prostate, limiting radiation dose to adjacent critical structures such as the bladder and bowel. With the use of a temporary hydrogel substance inserted between the prostate and rectum, we can basically eliminate radiation dose to these critical structures. This in turn allows for fewer side effects including a decrease in incontinence, rectal bleeding, and bowel issues such as diarrhea.”

One of Dr. Rossi’s patients, Ken Kotoski, is a prostate cancer patient at California Protons and is the 3,000th patient treated at the Center. Ken, age 58 from Bozeman, Montana, was diagnosed with prostate cancer after visiting the doctor for a suspected urinary tract infection. Upon further testing, his physician found he had an elevated PSA level and referred him to a urologist. After seeing the urologist, tests showed his PSA had risen higher and a biopsy confirmed Ken had prostate cancer.

Ken’s father and two brothers had previously been treated for prostate cancer, but when his father-in-law gave him a book about proton therapy, he began researching it further. After a video consultation with Dr. Rossi, Ken chose proton therapy as his treatment of choice. In January, Ken and his wife Kristi drove from Bozeman to San Diego to begin treatment. Ken received 28 proton therapy treatments and noted only mild skin irritation which allowed he and his wife to continue their evening walks.

California Protons Cancer Therapy Center is one of only two proton therapy centers in California and 37 nationwide. The Center leverages revolutionary intensity-modulated pencil-beam scanning technology to release a high dose of cancer-killing radiation that conforms precisely to the unique shape and size of the tumor. This approach effectively targets and treats even the most complex and aggressive cancers, sparing surrounding healthy tissues and organs. For more information, visit

Ken Kotoski is shown with his wife, Kristi. Ken is the 3,000th patient treated at the Center.


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