By Jessica Kartalija

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A state-of-the art proton treatment center in Baltimore has already helped hundreds of cancer patients, and it’s improving their lives in the process.

There are 25 proton treatment centers in the country, but there’s only one in Maryland. The Maryland Proton Treatment Center says more than 700 cancer patients have been treated at the facility since its opening last year.

One of those patients is John Abell, who says he received treatment at the center twice a day for four weeks to treat a sarcoma tumor in his abdomen.

Abell says this was the fourth time being diagnosed, but this time around was different.

“Going through this, this new technology and the proton, this almost — I don’t want to say — it’s fun, but it’s amazing. It’s fun because there’s a great team here,” says Abell.

Dr. Bill Regine, executive director of the center,  leads the team.

The facility has a machine that channels a pencil-point beam of protons at a tumor. Side effects to other organs are minimized because protons stop of the edge of the tumor, which means tissue beyond the tumor doesn’t get any excess radiation.

“A group of patients that this proton radiation is particularly helpful in, is people who have radiation before, their tumor hasn’t spread, but it’s grown back,” Regine said.

Regine says their quality of life while battling the disease improves significantly with proton treatment.

“People have less disruption, they can continue to work, and not feel like they have some side effect they have to deal with that keeps them from working or being with their family in a comfortable way,” Regine said.

Like Abell, who recently attended his daughter’s graduation and is now headed back to the office.

“There’s no I in team, but when I’m here, I feel like it’s all about me,” says Abell.

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