One of the most advanced forms of radiation therapy in the world is called proton therapy. It can deliver a high dose of radiation directly to a tumor while avoiding healthy tissues and organs nearby. This makes proton therapy an ideal treatment for many types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
However, only a few centers and hospitals in the US offer proton therapy for prostate cancer. In case you want to learn more about the treatment, here are some questions you should ask your doctors:
What Is Proton Therapy and How Does It Work?
You may have heard about proton therapy before, but knowing that the treatment exists isn’t enough. You should dig deeper about what it is and how it’s performed. Find out how long a session will last as well and what preparations you have to make before and after the treatment.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Many cancer treatments have side effects. Some cause hair loss, nausea, and vomiting. So, you should consider asking your doctor about the common side effects that patients experience after a proton therapy session. By doing so, you’ll be ready in case you experience any reactions after the session.
What Is the Success Rate of Proton Therapy?
Since proton therapy isn’t available in many hospitals and centers in the US, you surely want to know how many people were cured by it. So, feel free to ask your doctor about its success rate. This will give you an idea if cancer patients have better chances of survival with proton therapy compared to other types of treatment.
Is Proton Therapy Approved by the FDA?
In the United States, marketing and selling products or services (that can benefit your health but might also have a significant risk of injury or illness) need Food and Drug Administration approval. Having said that, consider asking your doctor if it is FDA approved.
How Many Sessions Does It Take to Complete a Course on Proton Therapy?
The number of sessions depends on your specific diagnosis. Since your doctor knows your condition, he or she will know how many proton therapy sessions you need to undergo. You can also ask how long each treatment is going to take so you can adjust your schedule.
How Much Will Proton Therapy Cost?
Cancer treatments can be expensive, so you should ask how much proton therapy will cost you. You can also ask about the payment options you have. Inquire if you can have a payment plan so you can pay in an installment basis.
Do Health Insurance Plans Cover Proton Therapy?
Since proton therapy can cost you a lot of money, it would be best to ask if it is covered by health insurance plans. If so, you should also consider asking your provider about it, as not all insurance companies in the US cover proton therapy.
Aside from Proton Therapy, What Are My Other Options?
It is your health we’re talking about, so it would be good to know if you have other options aside from proton therapy. You can ask what makes them different from other prostate cancer treatments. This way, you can decide whether proton therapy is really the right choice for you.
Which Center or Hospital Do You Recommend?
Although proton therapy isn’t nationally available, there are 37 regional centers across the US, according to the National Association for Proton Therapy or NAPT. Having said that, it can be difficult to choose which center or hospital you should go to. So, feel free to ask your doctors if they can recommend a good one.
Proton Therapy Centers in the US
If you’re looking for a proton therapy center in the US, you can find some in Nashville and Knoxville (Tennessee), Hampton and Falls Church (Virginia), Jacksonville (Florida), Baltimore (Maryland), Boston (Massachusetts), Atlanta (Georgia), San Diego (California), and Baltimore (Maryland).
Other states like the District of Columbia, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and more also have proton therapy centers. Feel free to reach out to any of the hospitals in the states listed above if you have more questions about proton therapy for prostate cancer.
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