The three basic treatments for all cancers are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Which of these treatments should be used is determined through a complex evaluation of the tumor type, the stage, the patient’s age and medical condition and the goals and desires of the patient and family. Not all cancers can be cured but the quality of life can be improved for most patients by the appropriate application of these three treatments.
Regular radiation, regardless of the source, be it a linear accelerator, an implanted radioactive source or one of the new computer guided robotic machines typically deliver x-rays. X-rays, when pointed at the human body, will almost immediately begin to deposit energy. As they move deeper they give up more and more of their energy hitting a peak then gradually tailing off until they exit the opposite side of the body. Radiation may damage healthy tissue throughout this long path. Protons are an entirely different form of radiation from x-rays and they have a very different effect within the human body. Protons pass through the initial layers of tissue depositing little of their energy. But, at a programmed depth protons will very quickly give up all of their energy and stop. There is no exit dose and much less normal tissue is affected. For almost any cancer in any part of the body, there will be a tissue-sparing advantage with protons compared to x-rays. Learn More about how proton therapy works.
The side effects of proton treatment will depend on the part of your body being treated and the size and type of cancer involved. In general, fewer side effects and less severe side effects can be expected with protons compared to standard x-rays. A detailed evaluation at our center is required to see if the advantages of protons are large enough to warrant treatment at our facility.
At HUPTI, we provide financial counselors who work with your insurance company to help ensure your claim is accepted. Since proton therapy is part of the standard of care for many cancers, it can be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most other insurance providers.
No. You can schedule an appointment to see us at any time and we are always available by telephone. Our doctors will speak to you directly. If you are uncomfortable about asking for a second opinion because you fear your local doctor will be insulted, don’t be. All good oncologists encourage second opinions and will be pleased to communicate with both you and your physician as you make your crucial treatment decisions.
Lodging arrangements have been considered a high priority since day one of our planning for this center. Hampton Roads has two international airports and numerous local hotels and on site facilities will be available. HUPTI is located in a beautiful setting convenient to shopping, entertainment, the seaside, and historic attractions. Don’t underestimate the importance of these amenities during your treatment. For the most part, our patients feel quite well during therapy. Participation in local activities can go a long way to dispelling the fear and anxiety that go along with cancer treatment.