Frequently Asked Questions

Your questions are important. It’s likely that others also have the same questions. We’ve included a list frequently asked questions:

Q: What is proton therapy?

A: Proton therapy is one of the most promising developments in cancer treatment. A giant machine called a cyclotron extracts protons from hydrogen atoms, accelerating them to almost the speed of light, and delivering the radiation with pinpoint accuracy.

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Q: What are the benefits of proton therapy?

A: Proton therapy is highly targeted, precise radiation therapy that is especially effective for tumors in sensitive areas. In addition, proton therapy is non-invasive and may reduce side effects, allowing patients to maintain their quality of life during and after treatment.

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Q: What cancers are treated with proton therapy?

A: Proton therapy can treat all solid tumor cancers. This does not include some blood cancers, like leukemia. Many factors, such as overall health, are taken into consideration. Your cancer is specific to you. Proton therapy is not right for every situation. For those cancers where it is effective, we will evaluate your diagnosis to find the best option.

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Q: Do I have to have a doctor’s referral?

A: You do not have to have a doctor’s referral. Please contact us to see if proton therapy is a right for you.

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Q: Does insurance cover proton therapy?

A: Medicare and most major insurance carriers in the U.S. cover proton therapy. The Texas Center for Proton Therapy staff can answer your questions and advocate on your behalf with your insurance company.

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Q: Is proton therapy the same number of treatments as conventional radiation and by cancer type?

A: For all types of radiation treatment, the number of treatments will vary based on your type of cancer and your particular tumor. Proton therapy is very precise, reducing side effects which helps you maintain quality of life during and after treatment.

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Q: What is the cost of treatment?

A: The cost of treatment depends on the type of cancer and the course of treatment needed. We work closely with you and your insurance company to confirm coverage.

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Q: What are the side effects? Are they the same side effects as conventional radiation?

A: The side effects vary by the type of cancer. Proton therapy may have fewer side effects than traditional X-ray radiation, which allows patients to maintain their current quality of life during and after treatment.

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Q: How long is proton therapy treatment?

A: Timing and duration varies depending on the patient and type of cancer. Treatment sessions typically last for 15-40 minutes with each beam only taking one to three minutes, and the complete course of treatment may be from one to 30 sessions, lasting one day up to eight weeks. A typical treatment cycle is Monday through Friday, for six to eight weeks.

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Q: Do I have to quit my job?

A: No. The side effects of our proton therapy treatments are minimal and should not keep you from working.

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Q: Do I have to change my diet?

A: The need for altering your diet depends on the location of your cancer. Your cancer is specific to you. We examine your cancer and give you a recommendation.

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Q: Do I need to move to Irving?

A: If you are within 1 ½ -2 hours outside Irving, you could probably drive in each day, but some patients may choose to temporarily relocate to the area.

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Q: Can you help me find lodging and services?

A: Yes, we have a patient support services team with access to many hotel and transportation options.

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Q: Can you work with my medical oncologist? What relationship do you have with my other health providers?

A: We work closely with your medical oncologist and other healthcare providers to coordinate your overall care. If you are a Texas Oncology patient, we already have an established relationship with your Texas Oncology physician. When your treatment is completed, you may return to your local physician for most follow-up care.

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Q: What makes this center different from the other proton therapy centers?

A: Texas Center for Proton Therapy is one of only few centers in the nation that offers pencil-beam scanning with cone beam CT. It is the ideal technology for irregular shaped tumors near sensitive areas. In addition, pencil-beam scanning capability is a prerequisite for a proton center to offer intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT). That is a highly specialized proton therapy delivering a precise dose of protons, often to tight spaces.

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Q: Does the center offer clinical trials? If so, what are the benefits?

A: Texas Center for Proton Therapy will offer clinical trials from day one. Radiation clinical trials are essential to the advancement of cancer treatment. Clinical trials allow you to be actively involved in your healthcare, access new treatments and expert medical care, and to help further medical research. We can discuss these options with you to evaluate if a clinical trial is right for you.

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Texas Center for Proton Therapy is ready to help you fight cancer with one of the nation’s most advanced cancer-fighting technologies.

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