The radiation oncologists*, who provide clinical care at the Northwestern Medicine Proton Center, will plan the course of therapy, and conduct weekly check-ups to ensure your treatment is on track. With specializations in brain, head and neck, breast, lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, prostate and pediatric cancers, you receive a treatment plan customized to you and your cancer.
Meet the Radiation Oncologists
A registered nurse with experience in radiation therapy provides day-to-day care and helps coordinate any additional medical services you might need during your proton therapy treatment, including arranging for:
- Blood tests
- Medical appointments
If you do not have a local primary doctor, your nurse will make sure you get all the additional services and therapies you need.
A team of radiation therapist will treat you each day, making sure you are comfortable and correctly aligned for treatment using aids such as a cushion, footrest, headrest or other custom made device. During treatment, your radiation therapist will remain close by to ensure you are comfortable and the treatment is effective.
Patient Services Representative
A patient services representative will greet you when you and your loved ones arrive at the Center as well as address your non-medical needs such as transportation, lodging and services in the area. They will also plan and coordinate special educational and social programs to enhance your stay and can connect you to other services such community wellness and support organizations.
Your Extended Care Team
In addition to your personal Care Team, there are many others on staff to support you during your time at the Proton Center.
- The Intake Team provides information about proton therapy and coordinates the collection of medical records, gathers information for evaluating your individual case and schedules consultations.
- A Financial Counselor assists you with insurance, Medicare or Medicaid coverage, and coordinates payment and cost management.
- Dosimetrists collaborate with your doctor to prepare a unique treatment plan only for you. They devise the best way to treat your tumor while ensuring your healthy tissue is exposed to as little radiation as possible. They will work closely with radiation therapists throughout your course of treatment.
- Medical Physicists ensure the safe and effective delivery of radiation by monitoring the equipment and procedures used in therapy. They run patient-specific checks on the plan created especially for your treatment to be sure you receive the correct dose of protons targeted precisely to your tumor.
- Machinists create custom treatment devices that are personalized for you and based off of your treatment plan. These treatment devices, called apertures and compensators, match the shape and form of the area the proton beam is targeting. During your treatment, protons are delivered through the aperture and compensator to ensure the therapy is precise.
- Engineers make sure the equipment and systems needed to produce the proton beam are finely tuned.
- A Social Worker (certified in oncology) assists patients with emotions that accompany serious illness, and acts as an important guide for essential resources that support your treatment and overall experience.
- A Child Life Specialist helps children and their families understand and normalize the treatment process and environment, and provides developmentally appropriate support, preparation and therapeutic play opportunities to decrease anxieties associated with illness.
- Nutritionists and other specialists also contribute care and services to our patients as needed.