For Utah Cancer Patients, Proton Beam Therapy Coming To Salt Lake City

Nov 20, 2018, 6:41 PM | Updated: 11:55 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Spend just a few minutes with Melissa Quigley and you’ll see right away how she prefers to find the humor in life.

“It’s just really cool. I’m psyched,” she said with a laugh.

Her demeanor certainly helped when she found out she had cancer.

“It was scary,” she said with another loud laugh.

Her cancer was a rare type next to her spinal cord.

With normal radiation treatment, the collateral damage could have left her as a paraplegic.

“So, I went down to Houston. I was down there for two months. My family was here. My husband figuring out how to make it work in our house,” she said, followed by another one of her laughs.

Quigley, who lives in Utah, had to go to Houston for a procedure called proton beam therapy.

Melissa Quigley

It’s a type of radiation therapy that wasn’t offered anywhere near Utah.

“I like to compare it like a needle with a bomb on the end,” she said. “It goes in, doesn’t do a whole lot of damage, everything is fine, and then it gets right to where it’s supposed to be, and boom.”

That boom is why so many doctors love the procedure.

“It penetrates to a specified depth and then stops very abruptly in the tumor,” said Dr. Bill Salter, who is the Director of Radiation Oncology at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. “So, it limits the damage in the energy and the damage it deposits in the tumor and reduces collateral damage to healthy tissues.”

Soon, though, proton beam therapy will be offered at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held there Tuesday morning to announce the new facility.

“It’s an additional tool that will be a quantum leap into the future and allow us to treat patients that now are leaving the state to get this treatment elsewhere,” said Dr. Dennis Shrieve, who works with the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Usually, this type of treatment can last from 5-to-8 weeks with five treatments a week.

For those living in Utah, it’s a pretty big trip for treatment.

“It’s hard to be away from your family for that long and it’s stressful,” said Quigley.

Patients in Utah will soon be able to focus on getting better instead of traveling.

It also means cancer just might not get the last laugh.

“It’s the future. It can do so many things. And it’s like magic,” she said.

The new facility will be named in honor of Senator Orrin Hatch.

It’s expected to be open in the fall of 2020.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Intersection where motorcyclist and Jeep crashed....
Brooke Williams

Biker in extremely critical condition after being hit by Jeep in Millcreek

A biker is in extremely critical condition after colliding with a Jeep this morning.
13 hours ago
Salt Lake City police responding to a shooting at the Downtown West apartment complex. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck

Man charged with murder, woman shot in her SLC apartment

A 20-year-old man is facing felony charges after police found him with his dead girlfriend in late September. 
13 hours ago
(KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Surprising drivers with free gas cards in Weber Co. with Casey Scott

Casey Scott was out earlier Wednesday helping ease the pain at the pump with free gas cards -- if anyone will take them.
13 hours ago
Andrew Adams

Relatives scramble to relocate Florida woman to Utah after she lost everything to Ian

Family members were scrambling Tuesday to get a relative in Florida safely to Utah after she lost everything to Hurricane Ian.
13 hours ago
Get Gephardt...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps a Clearfield man get his solar panels hooked up after months of delay

Imagine having solar panels installed on your roof but then being unable to get the company to actually hook them up. It happened to Clearfield man and when the company stopped responding, he decided it was time to Get Gephardt.
2 days ago
The SafeUT app provides real-time crisis intervention for people in immediate distress. (KSL TV)...
Debbie Worthen

SafeUT app sees big increase in tips on threats, chat use

On the app designed to keep them safe, Utah students are reporting more tips related to violence, more total tips and using the app chat feature too.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
For Utah Cancer Patients, Proton Beam Therapy Coming To Salt Lake City