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Frequently asked questions

It’s important that patients, along with their caregivers and families, have the information they need for informed and confident treatment decisions about proton therapy.


These answers to frequently asked questions can help you decide whether proton therapy is right for you. You can also contact us directly for more information.

What is proton therapy?

Proton therapy is an advanced radiation treatment that uses supercharged proton beams to target and destroy the cancer tumor. It’s extraordinarily precise, releasing nearly all the radiation into the tumor and almost none into surrounding areas.


Learn more about the benefits of proton therapy.

What are the advantages of proton therapy over traditional (photon) radiation?

Proton therapy delivers a precise dose of radiation directly to the tumor site, minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues. That allows a higher, more effective radiation dose to the tumor with fewer short- and long-term side effects.


Proton therapy is particularly beneficial for treating complex tumors, as well as those located near sensitive areas such as the brain, head and neck, lungs, abdomen, prostate, or along the spine. Proton therapy is also highly effective in treating pediatric patients as it can prevent developmental issues and reduce the risk of future cancer development.


Learn more about the benefits of proton therapy.

What types of cancers are treated with proton therapy?

Proton therapy is an effective treatment for many types of cancers, but most typically for solid tumors that have not spread to other parts of the body.


See the types of cancers we treat at the New York Proton Center.


Because every cancer is different, we encourage you to talk to your physician or contact us to learn if proton therapy is right for you.

How can I determine if I’m a candidate for proton therapy?

The first step is to speak with a member of our Intake team. They will gather information about your diagnosis, including medical records, and present it to one of our experienced radiation oncologists to determine whether you may be a candidate. You can contact us directly to inquire about a consultation, or you can be referred to us by your oncologist.

What side-effects can I expect with proton therapy?

Side-effects from proton therapy vary depending on medical history, age, diagnosis and treatment plan. Common symptoms include fatigue and irritation on the skin that is in the direct path of the radiation. Compared to conventional radiation therapy, however, proton therapy can significantly reduce the risk of developing and the severity of short- and long-term side-effects. Potential side effects will be discussed in-depth during your consultation.

Is proton therapy safe?

Proton therapy is a non-invasive, state-of-the-art treatment that is safe and can reduce side effects and better preserve quality of life compared with traditional photon radiation therapy. It has been approved as a cancer treatment by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1988.

Can I have proton therapy if I received prior radiation?

Yes. Proton therapy is typically the safest and sometimes the only radiation treatment that can effectively treat a recurrent tumor while protecting nearby healthy normal tissues. This allows some patients a new chance for a cure.

Will my health insurance cover proton therapy?

All health insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover proton therapy for several clinical indications. The New York Proton Center is committed to helping secure approval by contacting your insurance company and providing supporting clinical evidence about your case. You can learn more here.


If you have additional questions, please contact us.

Do I need special approval from my insurance company to receive proton therapy?

Yes. Most insurance companies require a prior authorization for radiation therapy, including proton therapy. Our Financial Counselor team will work with your primary oncologist to obtain and send all required clinical information to your insurance company to request and obtain authorization.

Do I need a referral from one of your partner hospitals?

No. While many of our patients are referred by one of our three partner hospitals – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Health System, and Montefiore Health System – many patients contact us directly or are referred from other hospitals around the world.

Does the New York Proton Center coordinate with my regular oncologist?

Yes. Your referring oncologist and other clinical team members remain involved in your care via regular contact and consultation with your clinical team at the New York Proton Center.

Is proton therapy considered an experimental treatment?

No. Proton therapy has been approved by the FDA since 1988 and has been used effectively for decades. The clinical data validate proton therapy as an effective form of cancer treatment that is neither experimental nor investigative.

Can proton therapy treat pediatric cancers?

Yes. In fact, proton therapy is uniquely appropriate for a variety of pediatric cancers. It can significantly reduce the potential for developmental abnormalities, growth delays, reductions in IQ, and other long-term complications that often result from conventional radiation.


Learn more about pediatric patient treatment options.

Do you treat patients who do not live in the New York area?

Yes. The New York Proton Center has treated more than 4,500 patients since it opened in 2019. Our patients come from New York as well as many other states and countries.


Feel free to contact us so we may assist you however you need. Information for international patients is available here.

"I would like to thank all of the staff for their kindness and compassion. You all made me feel so welcome and at ease during my treatment."
– Grateful New York Proton Center patient
Explore more frequently asked questions
Prostate cancer FAQs
Recurrent cancer FAQs
Lung cancer FAQs

How can we help?

Want to find out if proton therapy might be a good fit for you or your patient? Call us at 833-NYPROTON (833-697-7686) or fill out the appropriate form below.