On August 21, 1995, Mr. Lorne Scott of Campbell River, BC, became the first person to have his cancer treated in Canada with a proton beam. The cancer treatment centre at TRIUMF results from a collaboration between the BC Cancer Agency, UBC's Eye Care Centre and TRIUMF and is the only facility of its kind in Canada. The Mr. & Mrs. P.A. Woodward's Foundation provided funds to construct the patient treatment chair and the proton beam line equipment. Before 1995, Canadian patients had to go abroad to receive proton treatment. Since then they can receive it here in Canada, and at a much lower cost.
The Proton Treatment Facility at TRIUMF is dedicated to treating a cancerous growth on the back of the eye, called choroidal melanomas. Before proton treatment became available, the most common course of action was removal of the eye. Other possible treatments included surgical removal of the tumour (which has severe limitations), or implanting a radioactive disk on the wall of the eye under the tumour for some days (Brachytherapy). These alternatives were unsuitable for large tumours, and could damage sensitive parts of the eye, often resulting in loss of vision. After proton therapy, however, patients