What to Expect during Proton Therapy Treatment
Proton therapy is an advancement in radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Instead of photon beams, this cutting-edge radiation uses proton beams which offer several advantages over traditional photon beams.
KCPI Brings Office-Based Proton Therapy to Kansas City
Our new, state-of-the-art proton facility, Kansas City Proton Institute (scheduled to open in late 2023), will be the only office-based proton therapy facility in Kansas City. Office-based (outpatient) proton therapy offers the same level of cutting-edge care but at a lower cost than hospital-based proton therapy centers.
Why Is Proton Therapy Done?
Proton therapy is used to treat cancerous as well as some noncancerous tumors. It may be used as the only treatment or it may be used in conjunction with other treatments, including chemotherapy and/or surgery. Proton therapy may also be used if the cancer remains or comes back after traditional X-ray radiation.
Does Proton Therapy Hurt?
You do not feel pain during proton therapy treatments. Some patients who have physical limitations may be required to be positioned in uncomfortable ways in order to get the best angle for the beam, but the therapy itself is pain-free.
How Long Do Proton Therapy Sessions Last?
Proton therapy sessions last between 15 and 45 minutes. The actual proton therapy treatment may take only a few minutes but expect to spend 30 to 45 minutes preparing before each session.
What Kind of Preparation Is Needed Before Proton Therapy?
Before you undergo treatment, your healthcare team will determine the best physical position. It’s critical that patients remain still during treatment, so finding a comfortable position is important. Imaging tests such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a CT scan (computerized tomography) will determine the area of your body to be treated and how best to reach it with the proton beams. The area of your body that will receive the radiation will be marked with a temporary marker or possibly small permanent tattoos. This is done to ensure that your body is in the same precise position before each treatment.
What Is Treatment Like During a Session?
Once you are positioned properly, the radiation therapy team will leave the room and go to an area where they can monitor you. They can still see and hear you. Proton therapy is administered with a machine called a gantry that directs the proton beams at precise points on your body.
How Often Will Sessions Be Scheduled?
A typical proton therapy treatment schedule would be five days a week for several weeks in a row.
How Is Progress Determined?
Your team will monitor results throughout your treatment. You may receive weekly CT scans to see if the dose you receive needs to be recalculated based on changes in tumor size and shape.
How Will I Feel After Treatments?
After your treatment session, you can go about your day as usual. You won’t be radioactive or give off radiation. Over time, side effects may develop. The most common side effect of proton therapy is fatigue. Loss of energy is common and you may need to sleep more at night or take naps during the day. You may also notice redness of the skin in the area where the proton beams are directed.
Advantages of Receiving Proton Therapy at KCPI
You do have a choice when it comes to where you receive your proton therapy. At the Kansas City Proton Institute, our new proton therapy treatment center in Overland Park (due to open in late 2023), we offer the same level of care you would receive at a hospital-based setting for less. Besides savings, outpatient facilities like KCPI also offer a few advantages that a hospital can’t – mainly convenience. You will be in and out faster with much less hassle than if it was in a typical big hospital setting. You don’t have to drive downtown, and you’ll have convenient parking in our parking garage. Navigating a smaller facility is easier and less stressful too. You can’t beat the combination of increased convenience and lower costs at Kansas City Proton Institute. At KCPI, we are cutting costs on cutting-edge care.