One important benefit of proton therapy is that treatment is painless and no longer as frightening as the disease itself.
FAQ About Proton Therapy
Frequently Asked Questions>
What is proton therapy?
Proton therapy is the most advanced method of delivering curative radiation doses to cancerous tumors available today.
How does proton therapy differ from standard radiation therapy?
Both protons and x-rays destroy cancer cells by damaging cellular structures. The significant difference is that protons deliver the majority of the radiation dose in the cancerous tumor and x-rays do not. This results in reduced short and long term side effects for proton therapy patients.
What type of cancers can be treated with proton therapy?
Most localized solid tumors that have not spread to other areas of the body can be treated with proton therapy including Brain & Central Nervous System, Breast, Esophageal, Head & Neck, Liver, Lung, Lymphomas, Ocular, Pediatric, Pancreatic, Prostate, Sarcomas, Skull & Axial Skeleton and many other cancers.
Can children with cancer benefit from proton therapy?
Solid tumor pediatric cancers are one of the groups that can benefit most from the clinical benefits of proton therapy. In the last decades, pediatric cancer cure rates have risen to close to 90%. Because of this, children are at most risk from for long-term side effects from their treatments later in life. Proton therapy treats less healthy tissue with radiation and therefore reduces this risk.
Are there any side effects from proton therapy treatment?
Due to delivering lower radiation doses to surrounding healthy tissues and organs, side effects from proton therapy are typically minimal and less than standard radiation therapy treatments.
Will proton therapy cause hair loss or nausea and vomiting?
Radiation can only cause side effects in the specific area treated unlike chemotherapy which is a systemic treatment. For that reason, hair loss or nausea and vomiting will not occur unless the scalp or abdominal area is treated. Even if those areas are treated, proton therapy can lessen the chance of experiencing these side effects.
Can proton therapy be used with other forms of cancer treatment?
Proton therapy often can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy or other drug treatments and surgery.
How many visits or treatments does it take to complete a course of proton therapy?
The number of treatments is dependent on the specific diagnosis but they can range anywhere from 5 treatments to 39.
How long do proton therapy treatments last?
Proton therapy treatments typically last 15-45 minutes depending on number of treatment fields and the complexity of the patient daily setup.
Is there any pain while receiving the treatment?
Proton therapy is non-invasive and painless.
My physician has not mentioned that proton therapy is a treatment option for me?
Often, if a physician does not have access to an emerging treatment like proton therapy, they are not well educated on the specific clinical benefits making it difficult to advise patients on whether they would benefit from the treatment.
Is proton therapy FDA approved?
Proton therapy has been approved as a safe and reliable treatment by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) since 1988.
Is proton therapy more expensive than standard radiation therapy?
Depending on the type of treatment, proton therapy can be equal to or up to twice the cost of standard radiation therapy.
Do health insurance plans cover proton therapy treatment?
Proton therapy is covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans. Specific coverage is determined by each health insurance plan. Insurance specialists at proton therapy providers will help determine plan benefits.
Is a referral needed in order to see a proton therapy physician?
In most cases a referral is not needed to schedule an appointment with a proton therapy physician. Patient access specialists at proton therapy provider will work directly with the patient to schedule an appointment.
How do I know if there is a proton therapy center close to me?
The number of proton therapy centers are growing in number every year. View the most up-to-date map of proton therapy centers.