How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Before you undergo proton therapy, your health care team guides you through a planning process to ensure that the proton beam reaches the precise spot in your body where it's needed. Planning typically includes:

  • Determining the best position for you during treatment. During radiation simulation, your radiation therapy team works to find a comfortable position for you during treatment. It's imperative that you lie or sit still during treatment, so finding a comfortable position is vital. To do this, you'll be positioned on a table or in a chair that will be used during your treatment. Cushions and restraints are used to place you in the right way and to help you hold still. Your radiation therapy team will mark the area of your body that will receive the radiation. Depending on your situation, you may receive temporary marking with a marker or you may receive permanent tattoos.
  • Planning the path of the protons with imaging tests. Your radiation therapy team may have you undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans to determine the area of your body to be treated and how best to reach it with the proton beams.

Consider the cost

Proton therapy is a newer and more expensive form of radiation therapy. Not all insurance policies cover proton therapy. When considering your treatment options, work with your health insurance provider to understand what costs are covered by insurance and which costs you'll be expected to pay.

Aug. 01, 2013