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What to Expect

Preparing for Proton Therapy

As you prepare to begin your proton therapy journey at the Tennessee Oncology Proton Center, understanding what to expect beforehand can help ease any apprehensions and ensure you are well-prepared for the treatment process.

Our Process of Care

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Registering as a patient

You can save time prior to your consultation by completing registration and health history forms on our patient portal at www.optimalcare.com. You will also be able to view educational materials such as hospitality options, maps, and driving directions.

Scheduling Coordinator

A coordination team member will be there for you every step of your journey. After meeting with you at your consultation appointment, they will be available to support you throughout your treatment by hosting patient chat sessions, luncheons and other get-togethers. Your Scheduling Coordinator will also follow up with you after your treatment is complete to continue our Culture and answer any questions you may have.

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Physician examining pulse of patient

Initial Consultation

Your patient Care Coordinator will call prior to your consultation to confirm your appointment date and time. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to check in with our Registration Coordinator. When you arrive at the proton center, you will check in at the Registration Coordinator desk.

Please provide your state issued identification card and all applicable insurance cards. Your patient Concierge will greet you in the lobby on your consultation day and discuss the schedule for the day. A nurse will guide you to the patient consultation room. During the consultation, you will spend time with the following team members:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Radiation Oncologist

  • Nurse Practitioner

  • Proton Registry (if applicable)

Post Consultation

Once you have completed the consultation process, you will have the option to decide if proton therapy is right for you. Our staff will be available to answer any questions you may have and will be happy to provide you with the resources to make an informed decision. In some cases, your physician may request more diagnostic tests.

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Nurse Registering Patients


Our staff will schedule you for the pre-treatment appointment series that can include the following appointments*:

  • MRI scan

  • Appointment with your radiation nurse and oncologist to review the plan of care and answer questions before getting started

  • Fiducial markers (and gel placement in some cases*) (prostate patients only)

  • Treatment mold fitting and skin marking for daily set-up and positioning

  • Specific treatment markings and fittings for your tumor site

  • CT Scan for treatment planning

At the end of this appointment series you will be given a tentative treatment start date. The radiation therapy team will also ask you to provide a 2-hour time frame for when you would like to have your treatments. We will try our very best to give you the treatment time slot you requested.

*Pre-treatment appointment activities are disease site specific. The appointment series could include other clinical appointments.

Notification of Treatment Start

In most cases after your pre-treatment series, the treatment plan will be ready in approximately 10 business days following the pre-treatment CT scan. You will receive a call from your Radiation Therapy team before your treatment is scheduled to start. On this call, we will confirm your treatment date and time and provide you with any prior treatment instructions.

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Treatment Start Date

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your first treatment appointment. Upon arrival, you will be presented with a patient badge at the Registration Coordinator desk. Your therapy team will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for treatment. Please follow the instructions given for every treatment.

Doctor Day

During your treatment regimen, you are required to see your physician once a week. This is a national standard in radiation therapy.

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ProNova SC360 System

Last Treatment

On your last treatment day, you will be given the opportunity to ring the Victory Bell in the main lobby. Your friends and family are welcome to come celebrate with you. Our staff will be notified when you are ready to ring the bell!

Follow Up Care

On your final visit with the Doctor, your nurse will review discharge instructions and provide you with details for your follow-up appointment. Your physician determines when your next follow-up visit should occur based on your treatment course.

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