What to Expect – Patient Journey
Research: The path to treatment begins with research. Asking your insurance provider whether or not proton therapy is covered by your plan will clarify what responsibility you may have for the cost of the procedure. Take the time to research proton therapy’s benefits and talk to your doctor about the possibility. The more information you have, the more confident you will feel with your decision.
Reach out: The next step is to set up a consultation. Call 410-369-5200 to set up a consultation with one of our radiation oncologists or fill out the form below.
Gather information: Before your consultation, you’ll be given a list of background materials to bring with you or have transferred beforehand. Creating a list of questions you have for the radiation oncologist before your consultation will help provide insights and may ultimately make the decision easier for you. As many patients find it helpful and comforting, we recommend bringing a loved one for support.
Decide: After your consultation, work with your radiation oncologist and other members of your treatment and support team to decide if proton therapy is the right option. The next step is to submit enrollment paperwork, including a consent form, to be completed before moving forward.
Plan: During the planning stages, your radiation oncology team will map the tumor as well as simulate the treatment. A CT-scan will be conducted to create an image of the cancer followed by a layered path the proton beam will follow. The “dress rehearsal” will allow the team to determine your positioning during therapy. You will be asked to lie on the treatment table for the radiation therapists to find the optimal position for you to lie in during the procedure. Some patients may need to have a mask created to help them keep their head, neck and shoulders still and in the same position during each treatment. To learn about a special tradition MPTC has for masks, please click here.
Begin treatment: Therapy normally takes place once a day for five days, with each session lasting between ten to thirty minutes. Though it varies for every patient, treatment, on average, takes five to six weeks to finish. After each proton therapy session, you will be free to go about your life with no additional pain or impairment. When your treatment is completed, you’ll have a routine appointment to assess the progress of your recovery and discuss any difficulties you may be having.