D.C. hospitals hope for cutting-edge cancer treatment

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two major hospitals in the District of Columbia are hoping to start offering an expensive, cutting-edge type of cancer treatment.

The Washington Post reports that MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital are competing to offer proton beam therapy.

Proponents of the treatment tout its precision in targeting tumors and say it has fewer long-term side effects than conventional cancer treatments. But it's not clear to everyone that the therapy, which relies on a beam of protons instead of radiation, is more successful or effective than traditional treatments.

Sibley, part of Johns Hopkins Medicine, hopes to open a $130 million facility in 2017. MedStar Georgetown could open a $32 million center as soon as next year, though D.C. health planning officials would need to approve the projects.