Proton Therapy
What to Expect

Proton Therapy
What to Expect

What to Expect at Your First Appointment at the Proton Therapy Center

When you think about your child undergoing proton therapy for cancer, it is natural to have questions about the process. Your child will begin their treatment with several appointments to meet the team and set up their care plan.

Our care team is committed to making the experience as positive as possible and is here to help guide you through the process.

Making an Appointment at the Proton Therapy Center

We want it to be easy for you to get the care you or your child needs. New patients are referred to the Proton Therapy Center by their physicians. The Center will then review all referral documents and work with you to schedule a consult.

Before Your Visit to the Proton Therapy Center

After you schedule your child’s first appointment with the Proton Therapy Center, our team will begin coordinating everything to ensure that the visit goes smoothly and efficiently. A referral coordinator will begin collecting your child’s medical records, imaging studies and past test results. The referral coordinator will share this information with the radiation oncologist and communicate with your child’s medical oncologist.

On the Day of Your Visit to the Proton Therapy Center

Arriving at Your Appointment

The Proton Therapy Center at Cincinnati Children’s is located at:

Liberty Campus
7777 Yankee Road
Liberty Township, OH 45044

Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early to find parking, walk to the center and register your child for their first appointment.

During Your Appointment

Your child’s first appointment can last up to two hours. At this visit, our care team, including a nurse, radiation oncologist and nurse coordinator will:

  • Answer questions
  • Discuss proton therapy and explain the treatment process
  • Go over the next steps for follow-up appointments
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Take your child’s medical history

You and your child will also get a tour of the Center and meet with a Child Life specialist who can help make the treatment experience more comfortable.

Additionally, once you decide to move forward with treatment, our billing specialist will work on obtaining insurance authorization for proton therapy.

After Your First Visit to the Proton Therapy Center

CT Scan Simulation Appointment

Following this initial visit, the Center will schedule a second visit for your child to receive a computed tomography (CT) scan simulation. Treatment planning officially begins during this second appointment. This appointment is scheduled about two weeks before your child’s first proton therapy treatment. The appointment typically takes about one hour. During this visit:

  • You will sign treatment consent forms.
  • Your child will undergo a treatment planning CT scan on the area of the body that will be treated. These scans provide information that helps our team develop a precise plan for administering the radiation.
  • Because it’s important for children to lie completely still during treatment, our team will create customized immobilization devices, including masks and body molds.
  • If your child will have difficulty lying still, we will discuss the option of giving your child anesthesia for the CT simulation and treatment sessions.

Creating a Treatment Plan

After the CT simulation, our team will create your child’s treatment plan. A radiation oncologist, radiation physicist and a specially trained treatment planning professional called a dosimetrist will be involved in this process. Treatment planning typically takes one to two weeks.

The team will determine how much radiation is needed, how to target the tumor, how many treatment sessions your child will need and more. A typical proton therapy treatment plan involves treatment once a day, five days a week for four to six weeks.

When the treatment plan is ready, the radiation therapist will call to schedule your child’s daily treatments.

Treatment Sessions

When you arrive for your child’s treatment sessions, please check in at the front desk. Once in the treatment room for your child’s appointment, the radiation therapist will position your child on the table using the customized immobilization devices. The radiation therapist will step out of the treatment room to administer the radiation. They will see and hear your child via computer monitors and communicate via a microphone.

When the treatment session is over, children who did not have anesthesia can leave right away. Those who had anesthesia will spend some time waking up in our anesthesia recovery space.

Your child will see the radiation oncologist and nurse practitioner at least once a week while receiving proton therapy. These visits take place after the proton therapy treatment session and typically take 15-30 minutes. Your child’s radiation oncologist and nurse practitioner are available outside of scheduled appointments if you have any questions.

After Treatment

Soon after your child’s last treatment appointment, our radiation oncologist will direct you regarding follow ups with our team, but you and your child will return for care to your home medical oncology team who will order needed follow up tests.