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Construction has begun on the region’s first proton therapy center at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah. Being built at the south end of the HCI Cancer Hospital, the center will be named in honor of U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch.

The $31 million, 7,450-square-foot addition at the HCI campus will be the first proton therapy center in the Intermountain West. Proton therapy is a type of radiation therapy for cancer that delivers beams of radiation to shrink a tumor. 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.

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