What to Expect from Proton Treatment

Proton therapy is a non-invasive treatment that allows many patients to remain relatively active during and after their treatment. The information on this page will help you better understand what to expect from the proton treatment experience.

Preparation

Before you come for your first consult, Provision must collect your medical records to fully evaluate your treatment options. Many patients will automatically qualify to be scheduled for consult based on their diagnosis. All other patients will have their case presented at our case review, where all of our specialists gather to determine the best course of treatment. After case review, we will contact you to schedule your next appointment, whether it is with Provision or one of our campus partners.

While we are gathering and reviewing your medical records, we have a team of individuals dedicated to making the process as convenient as possible. This includes a financial team who works to make sure your proton treatment is covered by insurance. They are available to work with you before consult should you have any questions or concerns. We also have a Patient Experience team that can help organize travel and housing accommodations if you are coming from outside the area.

After you have been scheduled for consult, a Care Coordinator will send you a link to our online patient portal where you can complete registration paperwork prior to your appointment. This saves you time at your initial consult and provides you with medical records and educational materials. It also functions as a communication tool so you can contact our staff whenever you have questions about proton treatment.

Consultation

Before the day of your first consultation, please review our “First Appointment Checklist” for important reminders on necessary paperwork, what to bring with you and how to prepare for your conversation with the doctor about your health and potential proton treatment.

On the day of your first consultation, you should plan to arrive 15 minutes early if you have completed your registration on the patient portal, or 45 minutes early if you have not.

As you enter the facility, the Patient Concierge will greet you at the front desk, make sure you are fully registered, and alert the clinical staff to your arrival.

Once you are taken to the consult room, you will meet with your nurse for a standard new patient assessment. This includes a historical assessment, medication reconciliation, risk assessment, and general radiotherapy and proton treatment education. Next, you will meet your doctor who will perform a physical exam and discuss your treatment options. If you prefer, a family member, caregiver or significant other may accompany you to the consult room.

After your medical consultation, you will have the opportunity to meet with our Patient Experience, Financial Services (insurance), or Clinical Trials teams. If you would like to speak with a representative from any of these teams during your first appointment, please inform your Care Coordinator prior to scheduling the consultation.

Treatment

After your initial consultation, the next step is to schedule your proton treatment. Prostate cancer patients, for example, will schedule a series of appointments that include an MRI, placement of fiducial markers, and a treatment planning CT. These appointments can be scheduled on the same day or on separate days depending upon patient needs. For your convenience, we can schedule these appointments immediately after your consult, before you leave the center.

After your imaging appointments, the doctor and dosimetrist will work on a proton treatment plan specifically for your care. This usually takes around 5-10 business days but can take longer for especially complex cases. As you are completing the CT appointment, the therapist assisting you will let you know your estimated start date and ask for your preferred daily treatment time. The therapy team will call you with a specific start date, time, and instructions once your treatment plan is approved.

From here, your treatment begins. Your first proton treatment appointment will occur on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. A treatment session generally takes 15 to 45 minutes, however, the actual time spent delivering the protons to the tumor is generally only about a minute or two. This will typically continue for 4-8 weeks.

The therapist will walk you through the daily process of treatment and answer any questions you have when they call you to schedule your first proton treatment appointment. Prior to beginning treatment at Provision, all patients will have the opportunity to attend an orientation lunch where more specific information about what to expect during treatment is provided.

Follow Up

Once your proton treatment plan is complete, your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment. For all of our patients, we also advise continued follow-up with your specialist and/or primary care physician.

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