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What to Expect during Proton Therapy Treatment

Proton Therapy

Proton therapy is the latest advancement in radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Instead of photon beams, this cutting-edge radiation uses proton beams. Proton beams offer several advantages over traditional photon beams. Learn more about them and what to expect during proton therapy treatments.

KCPI Brings Office-Based Proton Therapy to Kansas City

At KCUC, we are bringing proton therapy to Kansas City. Our new, state-of-the-art proton facility, Kansas City Proton Institute (scheduled to open in the winter of 2023), will not only bring proton therapy to Overland Park, but will also 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.

What Are Proton Therapy Treatments Like?

Because proton therapy radiation treatment is new, many of our patients naturally have questions about it. We put together this Q&A overview to help you know what to expect from proton therapy treatment.

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?

Recipients of proton therapy do not feel pain during the treatments. Some patients, especially those 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?

Each proton therapy session lasts 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 treatment session. You can expect to be at the proton therapy center for roughly one hour total for each session.

What Kind of Preparation Is Needed before Proton Therapy?

Before you undergo treatment, your health care team will determine the best physical position. It’s critical that patients remain still during treatment, so finding a comfortable position is important. You’ll be positioned on a table that will be used during your treatment. 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. You’ll hear the machine turn on and while it is delivering the dose of proton therapy.You won’t be able to feel the radiation during your treatment session.

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 winter of 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.

KCPI will be the only office-based radiation facility in Kansas City. We are proud to be able to offer this new type of cancer treatment at a lower cost. If you would like to learn more about proton therapy, visit our website at www.kcuc.com and schedule an appointment to speak with a urologist or oncologist. Kansas City Urology and Oncology has multiple locations across the Kansas City Metro area so we’re never far from home. At KCUC, you see the best in KC.