Many patients are surprised to discover they can continue their pre-treatment activity levels during and after proton therapy treatment. Proton therapy is not an invasive treatment and because it decreases the risk of side effects, patients can maintain their quality of life. Many patients even continue to work while going through treatment.
The first step is determining if proton therapy is the best option for your specific cancer and situation. Patients can be referred for a consultation with one of our proton therapy experienced radiation oncologists by their physician. Patients can also self-refer by calling one of our cancer care coordinators at (865) 770-7401.
The first appointment you will have is a consultation with one of radiation oncologists. During this appointment, after reviewing your medical records, the doctor will examine you, answer your questions, discuss your case and share recommendations for your treatment options, including proton therapy. If you decide to move forward, our team will schedule you for the next step.
Pre-Treatment CT Simulation
You will be scheduled for a CT scan called a CT Simulation. During this scan, the radiation therapy team will work with you to find the best way to align you for treatment while keeping you as comfortable as possible. They may use immobilization devices to support you and help you repeat the same positioning for every treatment. You will likely receive a mark on your skin to help align the targeted treatment area so the proton beam is delivered exactly as planned each treatment.
The CT Simulation images help the physician plan your radiation treatment that is unique to your anatomy. The radiation oncologist, along with a team of dosimetrists and medical physicists, will map and program where the proton therapy will be delivered and at what doses.
Your radiation oncologist will go over the treatment plan with telling you how many sessions you will need to attend. Your radiation therapy team will familiarize you with your daily routine and go over your schedule. Your radiation oncology nurse will closely monitor you throughout treatment. You will see your radiation oncologist at a scheduled appointment weekly throughout your treatment, but they are also available as needed. You may also interact with other members of the cancer care team such as registered dietitians, oncology nurse navigators, social workers or other health care professionals.