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 still during treatment, so finding a comfortable position is vital. To do this, you'll be positioned on a table that will be used during your treatment. Cushions and restraints are used to place you in the correct position 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.
How you prepare
Proton therapy is a newer form of radiation therapy that may be more expensive. 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.