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Scripps reaches milestone with cancer treatment option

ENCINITAS — Scripps Health reached a unique milestone in cancer treatment this month, as it completed its 100th treatment using a special type of radiation therapy that targets cancer cells with laser-type focus.

And an Encinitas man is playing a major role in guiding the hospital’s efforts.

Tim Collins is a corporate vice president at Scripps and oversees the Scripps Proton Therapy Center in Mira Mesa. He has called Encinitas home for eight years. Previously, while serving as the chief operating officer of Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, Collins played an integral role in the hospital’s expansion plans, which were realized earlier this year.

The proton therapy center, which opened seven months ago, is one of 14 such locations in the nation, and one of three west of the Rocky Mountains. It provides a special type of radiation that kills cancer cells while preserving healthy surrounding tissue, as opposed to traditional radiation, which penetrates into both normal tissue and tumors and increases the risk of side effects and secondary tumors.

Scripps officials said the center in its first seven months have treated a greater variety of cases that it takes some centers as long as two years to be able to treat. Originally treating straightforward cancers, such as prostate cancer, the center has now treated patients with tumors in the lung, brain, spinal column, base of skull, head and neck, central nervous systems, pancreas, rectum, esophagus, breast, and testis, among others.

Collins said the center gives the region’s patients – including those in Encinitas – to a higher level of care.

“With proton therapy, Scripps Health now offers patients the complete spectrum of cancer treatment options in San Diego County, based on what is best for each individual situation,” Collins said.  “I’m proud to live in a community where great medical care is being provided, and although we hope that members of the community never need to access the care we provide, we are very pleased that we can offer excellent resources to the residents of the community.”

Collins is not the only Encinitas resident involved with the delivery of proton therapy. Dr. Ryan Grover, one of the center’s physicians, is also an Encinitas resident.

“I love being part of the community,” said Collins who is a member of the local Rotary Club and is an avid surfer and former triathlete.

Next, Collins said, the health system wants to spread the word to the public about the treatment available and also be involved with research studies to optimize proton therapy use.

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