Mercy’s radiation oncology experts use the latest proton beam technology to provide the best possible cancer care with compassion and support. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about proton beam treatment.
Proton therapy halts cancer in its tracks by damaging the DNA of cancer cells, preventing them from growing and spreading. During proton therapy, a powerful cyclotron device accelerates and charges the proton particles. Protons are focused precisely on the cancer tumor, with very minimal side-effects on the surrounding healthy tissue.
It’s a painless treatment, but fatigue is common afterward. Other side effects depend on the body area being treated, tumor size and types of healthy tissues near the tumor. The most common side effect is skin irritation, including redness, swelling, dryness, blistering or peeling. If you’re also receiving chemotherapy, other side effects could occur. Talk with your care team to learn more.
During proton therapy, a powerful cyclotron device accelerates and charges the proton particles. Protons are focused precisely on the cancer tumor, damaging their DNA so they can’t grow and spread. The treatment causes very minimal side effects on the surrounding healthy tissue.
Yes. Proton therapy can be used with other cancer treatments, such as traditional radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and surgery. Talk with your Mercy cancer care team about the treatment plan that’s right for you.
No. Proton has been used for more than 50 years in the U.S. It’s an established treatment that’s widely accepted by physicians, government agencies and many health plans.
Coverage varies by health plan and disease type. Contact your health plan to learn about coverage for proton therapy.
Proton therapy is highly effective at treating solid tumors, but it can’t treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. And it’s not appropriate for every type of cancer. Proton therapy is best suited for cancers in sensitive areas, where other treatments could damage healthy tissue. Talk with your Mercy cancer care team to find out if it’s right for you.
Available to patients throughout our region at the David C. Pratt Cancer Center. Patients are evaluated at their nearest Mercy oncology facility to eliminate unnecessary travel.