Every Step of the Way
A cancer diagnosis is life changing. Along with highly advanced medical treatment and a dedicated patient care team, being informed helps put many patients at ease and takes away the uncertainty surrounding treatment. We created our 8-step treatment process to walk through every detail from start to finish so that patients and families feel well-informed and confident in the treatment. Many patients also find it comforting to connect with others who can empathize with the inherent anxiety as well as the challenges of researching treatment options. Our patient and concierge services, including our California Protons Connect Program, psychologist patient support service, weekly patient socials, and therapy dog visits further strengthen these connections as they help bring the community together and create a sense of home.
Our 8-Step Proton Therapy Treatment Process
- Initial Inquiry. Our nurse’s clinical coordinator will contact you after receiving your medical information, including your diagnosis and health history, to approve treatment and create an official patient medical file.
- Insurance Coverage. One of our representatives will gather the necessary information to request insurance authorization for your treatment. Learn More
- Medical Consult. During this appointment, your radiation oncologist will review and explain your recommended course of treatment.
- CT Simulation (ST-SIM) Appointment. You will go through a “dress rehearsal” with CT imaging and customized immobilization device(s) to prepare you and ensure the equipment is correctly positioned with pinpoint accuracy for treatment. You may be outfitted with a specially designed body mold or mask, or receive semi-permanent body markings (small dots) to help with alignment during treatment.
- Treatment Planning. Your radiation oncologist, working with a team of dosimetrists and medical physicists, will create a customized treatment plan, utilizing sophisticated software and technology. The precise and detailed work requires 10 to 14 business days, after which you will receive a call from a radiation therapist to schedule your daily treatments.
- Verification Simulation (V-Sim). You will meet with your radiation therapist and team of therapy assistants who will introduce you to your daily setup and validate your positioning and images. While actual treatment time ranges from 1 to 3 minutes, you can expect to be in the treatment room for up to 30 minutes per session. During that time, full two-way video and audio are always on during treatments so you and your care team can communicate throughout the process.
- Daily Treatments. Similar to your day one V-Sim session, your radiation therapists will validate your positioning and images before starting your treatment. Your course of treatment can vary depending on type of tumor, size and location. However, most types of cancer, and even non-cancerous conditions, can generally be treated in 5 to 8 weeks.
- After Treatment. You will receive final patient discharge papers from your radiation oncology nurse and care team, who will discuss the steps outlined in your complete after-treatment plan. If traveling to our center for follow-up visits or additional tests such as blood work or images is a hardship, you may opt to return to your oncologist or primary care physician for post-treatment monitoring. Several of our past and current patients keep in touch through informal gatherings and our California Protons Connect program.
Our Patient Support Services
We believe there are many paths to healing and that a holistic approach to health can help. At California Protons, patients can take advantage of many onsite amenities and activities.
The California Protons community comes together through:
- Special events and activities, including weekly dinners at local restaurants
- Our California Protons Champion Program comprised of former and current proton therapy patients who act as a support system for one another
- A private Facebook page for patients and staff to stay connected at facebook.com/CaliforniaProtons
If you are interested in becoming a California Protons Champion or finding out more about California Protons Connect, please email us at email@example.com.
Our Proton Therapy Patient Support Service can provide a safe environment where patients can talk about living with cancer with another person who understands the treatment process.
Facilitated by Victor Frazao, PhD, a clinical psychologist, the purpose of the California Protons Support Service is to provide a private forum for our patients and their families to share their experience regarding their diagnosis, treatment and recovery. This service can also include training in diaphragmatic breathing and other relaxation techniques.
Dr. Frazao is available every Thursday from 12:00pm to 1:00pm. Patients meet him in the lobby and there is no cost to meet.
For any questions, please call the Center at 858.549.7400. Patients interested in participating are asked to sign up with the front desk staff.
Hosted by Mr. Harrison Miller and his wife, Mrs. JoAnne Miller, the weekly patient social gathering is a wonderful forum to enjoy a meal and conversation with present and past patients in a social setting. One of the first proton patients at the Center, Mr. Miller was so pleased with his results that he started to organize these gatherings as a way to give back to the proton community and help others going through a similar experience.
The gathering is run by patients for patients, and has been a wonderful resource for information on everything from what to expect with treatment, to where to stay and eat while being treated.
Check the lobby for the weekly gathering location, day and time, or call the Center at 858.549.7400 for more information. All current and past patients are welcome.
Visiting with a certified therapy pet can help provide patients and their families with comfort, relief and a distraction from treatment. It has also been shown to reduce stress, improve mood and energy levels, and decrease anxiety.
The Center is pleased to offer visits by two special therapy dogs, Howard and Lucy.
Howard: every Thursday at 9:00am for 1-2 hours
Lucy: every Wednesday at 9:00am
If you see Howard or Lucy walking through the Center, we hope you’ll take a moment to say ‘hi’ and give them a hug!
Our Concierge Services
Our concierge service team is dedicated to helping local and out-of-the-area patients feel more at home during their stay in San Diego. Whether it is special rates on lodging, a ride to treatment, restaurant suggestions or a sightseeing tip, we are here to make your time in San Diego as enjoyable as possible.Explore Our Services
Call 858.549.7400 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time) to speak with a member of the concierge team or email us a firstname.lastname@example.org.