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ProCure's mission is to improve the lives of patients with cancer by increasing access to proton therapy.

Oklahoma proton therapy cancer treatment center aims to educate Oklahomans during Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

An estimated 15,690 lives will be lost to esophageal cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 12, 2017) - In 2017, an estimated 15,690 lives will be lost to esophageal cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). This month, ProCure Proton Therapy Center, a cancer treatment facility in Oklahoma City, is working to educate Oklahomans on the symptoms of esophageal cancer and available treatment options, in honor of Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month.

"Esophageal cancer can be difficult to treat, especially when you consider the vital structures surrounding the esophagus, such as the heart, lung and spinal cord," said Dr. Gary Larson, Medical Director at ProCure. "When you are treating esophageal cancer with proton therapy, the targeted radiation beams can accurately pinpoint an esophageal tumor while sparing the heart, lung and spinal cord from unnecessary radiation."

This month, ProCure Proton Therapy Center offers the following information regarding the warning signs of esophageal cancer:

  • Difficulty swallowing. The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is a problem swallowing. This difficulty causes food to become stuck in the throat or chest, or even choking on food.

  • Chest pain. Esophageal cancer patients complain of pain or discomfort in the middle part of their chest or mid upper abdomen. Patients have described a feeling of pressure or burning in the chest.

  • Weight loss. About half of people with esophageal cancer lose weight (without trying to). This happens because their swallowing problems keep them from eating enough to maintain their weight.

  • Bleeding into the esophagus. This blood then passes through the digestive tract, which may turn stools black. Over time, this blood loss can lead to anemia (low red blood cell levels), which can make a person feel tired.

"Knowing the signs and symptoms associated with esophageal cancer is equally as important as knowing the best available treatment options," said Dr. Larson. "My recommendation is to know your body, speak up when things feel different and keep an open dialogue with your doctor when considering esophageal cancer treatment options."

ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City is dedicated to improving the lives of patients with cancer by increasing access to proton therapy, an alternative to traditional radiation. Protons target tumors more precisely, sparing healthy surrounding tissue from unnecessary radiation. The center opened in July 2009 as the sixth operational proton therapy center in the United States. Today, ProCure is the only proton therapy center operational in Oklahoma and one of less than two dozen in the country. ProCure is dedicated to excellent patient care and advancing proton therapy through innovation and improvements in technology. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Lacey Boone, Saxum
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