Proton therapy treatment FAQs

How is proton therapy different from conventional radiation therapy?

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment that precisely targets tumors. Because this precision causes less damage to healthy adjacent tissue on both beam entry and exit path, patients who receive proton therapy experience fewer side effects than they would expect with standard X-ray radiotherapy.

Is proton therapy as effective at treating cancer as conventional radiation therapy?

Yes, and in many cases it’s better. With pencil beam scanning optimized for intensity modulated proton therapy, proton therapy at Beaumont is both fastest to deliver and has the best ability to spare healthy tissue.  For pediatric patients, this means less damage to growing organs; for breast cancer patients, it means a decreased risk of heart and lung damage due to radiation exposure; and for patients who have already received previous radiation therapy, proton therapy may be their only treatment option.

What are the benefits of proton therapy?

At Beaumont’s Proton Therapy Center, the beam is directed and delivered with such precision that healthy tissue and organs receive essentially no radiation dose. This results in fewer side effects and better quality of life for patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Am I a candidate for proton therapy?

The best way to find out if you’re a candidate for proton therapy is to talk with our Proton Therapy Nurse Navigator (248-551-8402). She can facilitate a consultation with Beaumont’s Radiation Oncology team to review your cancer diagnosis and medical history.

What types of cancer do you treat with proton therapy?

Because of the precision and accuracy, proton therapy is useful in treating:

Can proton therapy be combined with other treatments for cancer?

Proton therapy may be used in conjunction with other cancer treatments, including traditional radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or surgery. Your radiation oncologist will determine a treatment plan that may include proton therapy alone or in conjunction with other treatments.

Will my insurance cover proton therapy?

Many insurance plans in the United States will cover proton therapy, including Medicare. Check with your individual insurance provider to learn if proton therapy is covered.

How do I get started with proton therapy?

Speak to a Proton Therapy Nurse Navigator to facilitate a consultation with a Beaumont radiation oncologist who will review your cancer diagnosis and medical history. Once your team determines that proton therapy is the right treatment for you, you’ll be scheduled for a radiation mapping, where the radiation oncologist will obtain a 3-D picture of your tumor. These images are used to plan for an accurate and precise dose to target the tumor. 

Where is proton therapy available?

Beaumont’s Proton Therapy Center is located on the campus of Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, adjacent to the Rose Cancer Center. Parking is available directly next to the center and in a covered deck across from the center.

What can I expect during treatment?

You’ll begin each treatment by checking in at the reception desk. You’ll be taken to a private dressing room where you can lock your clothing and any personal items. You’ll check in with the treatment team, who will then get you set up for treatment.

What will I feel like during the course of my proton therapy?

Most patients report experiencing no discomfort or sensation during the actual proton beam treatment.

What are the side effects from proton therapy?

Most patients have few or very mild side effects, such as fatigue, from proton therapy.

How long would my proton therapy treatment last?

Proton therapy treatment courses can last a number of weeks depending on the individual patient.  It is normal for patients to receive daily treatments over the course of several weeks.

Each proton therapy session lasts about 30 minutes, but is different for each patient.