At Mount Elizabeth Proton Therapy Centre, you can get access to pencil beam scanning proton therapy, a type of radiation treatment that uses proton beams to deliver radiation directly to the tumour to destroy cancer cells.
It is a radiation therapy that allows for the sparing of healthy tissues and organs.
Also known as proton beam therapy, it can:
- Minimise radiation exposure of healthy tissues
- Lower integral dose per treatment
- Treat recurrent tumours in patients who have already received radiation
- Potentially reduce the risk of secondary cancers
- Improve a patient's quality of life
It is often used to treat tumours with complex anatomy, tumours surrounded by sensitive tissues, or childhood cancers.
Conditions that can be treated with proton therapy include:
For more details on approved proton therapy indications, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s website.
Learn more about proton beam therapy and how it works.
Your proton therapy treatment journey at Mount Elizabeth
Before undergoing proton therapy, our medical team at the Mount Elizabeth Proton Therapy Centre will walk you through a detailed process to ensure the proton beam reaches the exact location in the tumour with minimum complications.
The treatment process involves:
1. CT simulation
- This is the first procedure the patient will receive. Customised immobilisation accessories will be prepared based on the patient's condition. The treatment team will acquire CT images to obtain 3D information on the patient’s detailed anatomical map, and make reference marks to reproduce the treatment position later.
- The simulation procedure typically takes approximately 1 hour and the patient should not feel any discomfort during this simulation.
- If there is any special preparation required, such as emptying of bowels and adhering to a specific diet, the patient will be notified once the procedure is booked.
2. Treatment planning and quality assurance (QA)
- After the CT simulation, the CT images will be used to customise the patient’s treatment plan. The treatment plan is created by the physicist, who will work closely with the radiation oncologist to determine the precise amount of radiation needed at the right spots, with the goal of killing the cancer while minimising radiation to surrounding healthy issue. This process is optimised by the physicist by using sophisticated treatment planning software.
- Once the treatment plan is approved by the radiation oncologist, the physicist will do a QA measurement for the patient’s plan on the proton therapy machine. The QA result must show that the proton machine-delivered radiation is the same as the treatment planning system’s optimised radiation dose distribution. Proton therapy treatment will commence after the QA is passed.
- The patient does not need to be present at the clinic for this step.
3. Proton therapy treatment
- Proton therapy may commerce after the planning and QA results satisfy the clinical requirements, and matches with the result of the patient-specific quality assurance measurement.
- The patient will be positioned on the treatment table in the identical position used during CT simulation.
- The radiation therapists will align the patient with laser system’s guide.
- Pre-treatment verification, which includes cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) or X-ray images, will be done to ensure optimal positioning before commencing the proton therapy treatment.
- After the patient’s position is verified, the team will proceed to deliver the proton treatment. The whole treatment session will be constantly monitored and the team can communicate with the patient through a CCTV/Intercom in the control room when required.
- Each proton treatment lasts typically within 5 minutes (the exact duration is dependent on the treatment plan), but the time needed to complete a treatment session will be around 30 minutes as the precise position and imaging required for the set-up must be checked and verified before the actual proton treatment delivery.
4. Regular consultation and evaluation over the treatment course
- Proton therapy generally involves multiple daily treatment sessions. The daily treatment sessions will be carried out 5 days a week and up to 8 weeks, based on the patient’s diagnosis. During the treatment course, radiation oncologists will consult patient regularly (e.g. weekly or when needed) to review the patient’s treatment progress, address any queries the patient may have, and plan future treatments. The treatment plan may be adjusted (e.g. when the tumour size shrinks) during the treatment course.
5. Follow-up care
- Follow-up appointments will be scheduled after the radiation treatments.
- Patient may be asked to have additional investigation (e.g. CT, PET, or MRI scans) before these visits.
- Our specialists will monitor the recovery progress and give the patient guidance on follow-up care.
Proton beam therapy is usually painless – you will be able to resume daily activities afterwards. Most patients will not require inpatient stays as a direct consequence of this therapy.
Learn more about how to prepare and what to expect during a proton therapy treatment.
Financing your proton therapy treatment
We understand that planning for cancer care can be emotional for you and your loved ones. Our team at Mount Elizabeth Proton Therapy Centre will work with you to help you understand your payment options, such as insurance claims, MediShield Life or MediSave usage, and out-of-pocket payments.
1) Integrated Shield Plans
Integrated Shield Plans provide additional coverage for proton therapy treatment expenses, reducing your out-of-pocket costs. The claim limits vary, depending on the type of your plan and your insurer. Please approach your insurer to verify the withdrawal limit for your Integrated Shield Plan. You may refer to the Ministry of Health (MOH) for the summary and comparison of treatment coverage.
2) MediShield Life
Claims for radiotherapy treatments range between $300 – $10,000 per treatment, depending on the type of radiotherapy and fulfillment of eligibility criteria set by MOH. Please refer to MOH for the claim limits. Please also check with your radiation oncologist to check if you meet the MediShield claim criteria.
Withdrawal limits for radiotherapy treatments are between $80 – $7,500 per treatment, depending on the type of radiotherapy. Please refer to MOH for more information.
Our multidisciplinary team
You can count on our skilled and experienced team of radiation oncologists and medical oncologists, as well as surgeons who are supported by medical physicists, radiation therapists, nurses, and other allied health professionals and staff, to utilise the latest proton beam therapy techniques and to provide a patient-centred environment at all times.
Learn more about our team.