Is Proton Therapy Right for Me?
Before you begin cancer treatment, you will meet with your medial team to determine your best treatment options. Because of the comprehensive nature of our services and our multidisciplinary approach, you will be able to meet with all of your physicians and learn about your options in one convenient location. The benefit of proton therapy versus traditional radiation therapy varies between patients and depends upon tumor type, size, location and other factors. Your medical team will determine the best treatment(s) for you. Treatment may include proton therapy alone or in combination with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or targeted therapies.
What types of cancer are treated with proton therapy?
Proton therapy is useful to patients whose cancer has not spread and for treating tumors located near organs or other structures that are sensitive to radiation. Cancers that may be treated with proton therapy include:
- Pediatric cancers
- Benign and malignant tumors of the brain and spine
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers (colorectal, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic)
- Head and neck cancer
- Prostate cancer
Am I a candidate for proton therapy?
Our team of experienced radiation oncologists will determine if you are a potential candidate for proton therapy or if you might be best suited for another therapy.
Can proton therapy be combined with other treatments?
Depending on the patient, proton therapy may be used in conjunction with other treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Your team of medical experts will determine the best treatment(s) for you and develop a personalized care plan.
Who is on my proton therapy team?
At UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health, we embrace a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care. This enables us to leverage the best of many minds to eliminate cancer and minimize recurrence.
Your team of highly trained specialists includes:
- Radiation oncologists
- Radiation physicists
- Radiation therapists
Additionally, you will be supported by a full team from our cancer support services who provide nutritional counseling, integrative medicine programs and the Survivorship Clinic.
Is proton therapy FDA-approved?
Proton therapy was approved by the FDA in 2001.
Does my insurance cover proton therapy?
Many insurance plans, including Medicare, cover proton therapy. Contact your insurance provider for more information about what your plan covers. If proton therapy is not covered, there may be financial assistance options available. Self-pay arrangements also are available.
How long will my proton therapy treatment sessions last?
The length of proton therapy treatment sessions may vary depending on the type and location of the tumor. Typically, each session lasts 30 minutes or less.
What are the side effects of proton therapy?
Many patients report fewer and less severe side effects from proton therapy than with other treatments. Side effects may include fatigue, skin redness and temporary hair loss. Many patients return to work or school after treatment sessions. Patients who also are receiving chemotherapy or radiation may experience other side effects. Your radiation oncologist is available to discuss possible side effects with you.
Is proton therapy painful?
The procedure is not painful, although some patients may experience discomfort from lying on the table and maintaining their body in the necessary position.
Can I have sex after proton therapy?
Patients who receive proton therapy may have sex after treatment.
I'm interested in proton therapy at UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health but am not from the area. Are there accommodations available?
To support patients who come from outside the Orlando area, we have a list of hotels with prearranged rates for our patients.
Can children receive proton therapy?
Children undergoing cancer treatment at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children or Nemours Children’s Hospital may receive proton therapy if their medical team recommends the procedure.