Once he decided to join the staff of the IU Health Proton Therapy Center in 2010, Dr. Jeffrey Buchsbaum had a lot to be excited about.
A radiation oncologist specializing in the treatment of children, Dr. Buchsbaum – who has both a master’s degree in physics and a doctorate in molecular biophysics and biophysical chemistry in addition to his medical degree – knew he wanted access to proton therapy.
“I am absolutely convinced that using protons to treat children and certain tumors in adults is superior to photons (which are used in traditional X-ray radiation therapy),” he says. “Children truly benefit from proton therapy through fewer growth and memory problems and secondary cancers.”
The precision-targeting ability of the proton beam is especially important to Dr. Buchsbaum because he specializes in treating complicated tumors of the brain, head and neck.
“Delivering 10 to 20 percent less radiation to critical structures can mean the difference between damage and no damage,” he says of the proton beam’s ability to spare healthy tissue within one millimeter away from cancer cells.
Once he visited the IU Health Proton Therapy Center, it didn’t take long for Dr. Buchsbaum – who has been affiliated with such prestigious institutions as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic – to decide that Bloomington was the perfect place for him to practice.
“As I walked the halls with John Kerstiens (IU Health Proton Therapy Center CFO and director of clinical operations), I was amazed that he knew every patient by name,” says Dr. Buchsbaum. “That is unbelievable.”
“From how hands-on the physicists and nurses are to the precision of the treatment plan to the focus on the patient…everyone at the IU Health Proton Therapy Center is dedicated to creating the best possible plan and doing what is right for our patients without compromise,” he says.
Dr. Buchsbaum was also impressed by the cyclotron that produces the proton beam and the Indiana University Cyclotron Operations team dedicated to its operation.
“The IU Health Proton Therapy Center has an amazing top-of-the-line treatment machine,” he says. “This is a facility with the potential to be a unique national resource, especially for the Midwest.”
Having cycled competitively in Italy, Dr. Buchsbaum is also looking forward to living in Bloomington, a city whose rich tradition of competitive cycling was depicted in the major motion picture “Breaking Away.”
“Bloomington is a wonderful place to live,” says Dr. Buchsbaum, who has relocated from Florida with his wife and two sons. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the IU Health Proton Therapy Center treatment team.”