Frequently Asked Questions

As a patient or a caregiver, you may have questions about your treatment with proton therapy. In this FAQ, we provide answers to the more commonly asked questions received by our care team.

How long is a treatment course?

Proton treatment sessions are typically delivered daily, Monday through Friday. The total duration of treatment depends on your diagnosis and other factors, and may vary between 3 to 8 weeks, with the average being 6 weeks of treatment. The number of treatments recommended for your diagnosis is discussed in consultation with your treating physician.

How long is treatment each day?

Most patients spend about 30 minutes in the treatment room each day. Most of that time is spent getting set up for treatment and ensuring everything is aligned properly before the treatment is delivered. The actual treatment is typically delivered in a few minutes.

Can I drive or work?

Most patients have no restrictions on their activity during radiation therapy. Many patients come independently for treatment each day. Complimentary valet parking is provided on site. While we cannot promise your treatments will be at a specific time each day, our team does its best to accommodate the scheduling needs and preferences of all of our patients.

What about my other appointments?

Many patients receive concurrent treatments or may have other medical procedures during their course of proton therapy. Our team will coordinate with your other medical providers so that you can receive all necessary treatments.

What if I am not a patient at Emory?

If you are already under the care of other specialists outside of Emory, we will partner with them in your treatment, whether they’re across town or across the world.

What are the side effects?

Like other types of radiation treatments, proton therapy is invisible and painless. All treatments have potential side effects and risks. The potential side effects of treatment depend on your type of tumor and where it is located in the body. If proton therapy is a good option for your treatment, it is because the side effects are likely to be fewer and/or the risks lower than other treatment options. Potential side effects and risks of treatment will be discussed in consultation.

What is the success rate?

The chance of controlling disease or cure depends on many factors including the type of tumor, how advanced the disease is, and often relates to the use and success of other treatments.  Clinical experience and published results of proton therapy in the treatment of many different conditions have shown results at least as good as those achieved with other radiation techniques but with potentially fewer side effects or risks.  In some tumors, results with proton therapy are among the best reported.  Expectations from treatment will be discussed as part of the consultation process.

What if I do not live nearby?

If you live too far away to commute for treatment, our team will work with you to identify local housing options.

Is proton therapy a good option for me?

Many factors are considered in identifying the best treatment choices, and proton therapy is not always the most appropriate treatment option. As part of the consultation process, our team will assess your case, compare benefits and risks of different treatment options, and discuss our recommendation of what we believe will work best for you. If you or your physician desires a consultation or further information about proton therapy, please contact us at 1-833-377-6866 or fill out or web consultation form. An Emory Proton Therapy Center professional will promptly respond to your online referral inquiry or phone call.

Request an Appointment

Referring physicians and caregivers with questions about proton therapy and its appropriateness for their child patient's cancers can schedule a consultation with a Winship radiation oncology expert by calling 1-833-3PROTON (1-833-377-6866).


Schedule a Consultation

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