About consultation and reservation
Q1.If I don’t have a referral letter, can I have a consultation?Open+
A1.In principle, a referral letter and other medical information are required. The referral letter should be written by your primary doctor who is the most familiar with your condition. In addition, making a reservation for a consultation is necessary.
Q2.If I haven’t made a reservation, can I have a consultation?Open+
A2.Reservations are required in principle.
Q3.What should I do to have a consultation?Open+
A3.Please consult your doctor if you wish to receive heavy ion therapy. And then, you need to ask to prepare medical information such as referral letters to HIMAK.
The medical information includes a "Referral letter", "(CT/MRI/RI/PET-CT) CD-R which shows chronological change and those reports", "Blood test results which show the transition of the tumor marker", "Blood test results which show recent results of urea nitrogen and creatinine", "Pathological findings", "Respiratory function test results", etc.
You must have a reservation and no walk-ins accepted. If you have any questions, please contact us from the website.
About heavy ion therapy
Q1.Can anyone undergo heavy ion therapy?Open+
A1.Heavy ion therapy is not applicable in the following cases.
- Cancer which has metastasized to three or more parts in the body.
- Blood cancer such as leukemia, cancer that has spread throughout the body.
- Diseases of organs accompanied by peristalsis, such as gastric cancer and colon cancer.
- Cancers for which better alternative treatment method has already been established.
Q2.Are all types of cancers applicable for heavy ion therapy?Open+
A2.Not all cancers are applicable for heavy ion therapy. We treat the following cancers:
- Unresectable bone and soft tissue tumors (tumors that occur in bone, muscle, blood vessels, subcutaneous tissue, etc.)
- Localized prostate cancer
- Some head and neck cancers
- Lung and mediastinal tumor
- Tumors of the digestive system
- Hepatobiliary and pancreatic tumors
- Tumors of the urinary system
- Mammary gland / Gynecological tumors
- Metastatic tumors (3 or less in the lung)
- Metastatic tumors (3 or less in the liver)
- Metastatic tumors (3 or less in lymph nodes)
Q3.Can I receive treatment for lung cancer even with emphysema?Open+
A3.Heavy ion therapy reduces the radiation lose at normal tissue and can focus on cancer, so even if patients have emphysema, there is a lower risk of respiratory function to be decreased. However, depending on the condition of emphysema, treatment may not be recommended.
Q4.Can I receive heavy ion therapy even if I have a pacemaker?Open+
A4.It can be treated for abdominal or pelvic lesion.
However, it is difficult to treat for the chest.
If you have a pacemaker implanted, please bring your pacemaker patient notebook on your initial visit to our center.
Please feel free to contact us, if you have any questions or concerns.
Q5.Can breast cancer be treated?Open+
A5.Basically, surgery is the first choice for breast cancer treatment.
Q6.I previously underwent radiation therapy. Can I receive heavy ion therapy?Open+
A6.In case radiotherapy was performed in the past, it is difficult to perform heavy ion therapy for the same lesion. Our doctors and the tumor board review of our center will carefully judge the applicability of heavy ion therapy in this case.
Q7.If a cancer has metastasized, can it be treated by heavy ion therapy?Open+
A7.Even if the cancer has metastasized, it may be treated by heavy ion therapy if which fall under any of the following:
・ In case that there are only lung metastasis (3 or less)
・ In case that there are only liver metastasis (3 or less)
・ In case that there are only lymph node metastasis
However, heavy ion therapy is not possible if there are multiple metastatic lesions (for example, if there are lung and liver metastases). It is necessary to give priority to systemic treatment.
Q8.Are treatments different between for children and for adults?Open+
A8.The way of treatment itself does not differ between children and adults.
Q9.Is there an age restriction to receive treatment?Open+
A9.Basically, it is from the age of 12 and there is no upper limit, but there is a condition that patients must remain motionless for about 30 to 60 minutes on the treatment table.
Q10.What is the difference between X-ray therapy and heavy ion therapy?Open+
A10.They are both a type of radiation therapy, but "radiation dose concentration" and "biological effect (= ability to kill cancer)" are different.
"Radiation dose concentration"With conventional radiation therapy such as X-ray and γ-ray, a large radiation dose is inevitably deposited near the surface of the body and diminish in strength thereafter. Deep-seated tumors does not receive sufficient damage and healthy tissue is also irradiated. On the other hand, heavy ion therapy can pin-point accurate radiation according to Bragg Peak, and deliver sufficient damage to target cancer while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. Heavy ion and proton beams have characteristic called "Bragg Peak" which enables high dose to be administered to the tumor while limiting dose to the surface of the patient's body. Heavy ion therapy can also be expected to be effective in deep-seated tumors.
"Biological effect (= ability to kill cancer)"Radiation, which is used to treat cancer, damages the DNA of cancer cells at the molecular level, prevents cell division and leads to the death of the cancer. Heavy ion beam has particularly a strong effect as heavy ion beam is heavier particles accelerated at high speeds and shows strong biological effects (= ability to kill cancer) when they hit cancer cells. Heavy ion’s biological effect (= ability to kill cancer) is superior so there is a characteristic that it is highly likely to be effective against cancers that are resistant to ordinary radiation treatment.
Q11.Will I need to be hospitalized during treatment?Open+
A11.Heavy ion therapy is a treatment with less burden on the body, so patients receive heavy ion therapy on an outpatient basis. However, depending on the treatment plan and illness, there are cases that during the treatment period patients are required to be hospitalized at a medical institution nearby while receiving heavy ion therapy.
Q12.Approximately how long does one treatment session take?Open+
A12.The time to actually irradiate the tumor with the heavy ion beam is about 5 to 20 minutes, but the time from entering the treatment room to leaving the room is about 15 to 120 minutes, including changing clothes and positioning before irradiation. In the case of respiratory-gating treatment such as lung cancer, liver cancer, bone and soft tissue tumors and some pancreatic cancers, it takes a little longer.
Q13.How long does the treatment period take?Open+
A13.The period of treatment varies for each type of cancer. In heavy ion therapy, it is possible to concentrate radiation with a high lethal effect on cancer, so it is possible to increase the amount of radiation per dose and reduce the number of treatment sessions required. The number of treatments is from 1 to 20 times (1 day to 1 month) in our center.
Q14.Does the patient feel pain and/or heat during heavy ion therapy?Open+
A14.The irradiation itself causes no pain or heat.
Q15.Does the heavy ion therapy cause hair loss?Open+
A15.Radiation affects only the irradiated area. Therefore, if radiation passes through an area with hair during head or neck cancer treatment, there may be temporary hair loss in that area only. Heavy ion therapy irradiates only the necessary amount to a limited area that includes the cancer, so there are considerably fewer side effects compared with general radiation therapy. However, it cannot be said that there are no side effects at all. Symptoms of side effects differ depending on the treatment lesion, radiation direction and radiation dose. In addition, even with similar treatment plans, there are individual differences in the appearance of side effects, so at the time of informed consent before deciding on heavy ion therapy, our doctor and nurse will explain the expected side effects. Also, they will explain what to do if the side effects occur.
Q16.If there are no side effects of treatment, does it mean that is there no treatment effect?Open+
A16.The treatment effect and the extent of side effects are not always proportional. Just because there are no side effects, you shouldn’t think the treatment is not working well. Even for cancers of the same lesion, the irradiation range and treatment plan are different for each patient, and it is not necessary to compare with other patients at all because there are individual differences as to when, where and what kind of side effects appear.
Q17.Could I stop treatment before completion?Open+
A17.When treatment is stopped halfway, cancer cells recover from the damage done by heavy ion therapy, greatly decreasing the treatment’s effect. Before starting treatment, please let your doctor know in advance if there is potentially any interval when you cannot visit our center during the treatment period.
Q18.Is it possible to smoke or drink during treatment?Open+
A18.It is said that if you continue smoking during treatment, side effects will increase and the treatment effect will decrease for head & neck cancer and lung cancer. Because side effects may be strengthened when treating other cancer also, we recommend that you stop smoking. In regards to drinking alcohol, because alcohol exacerbates tumor's and normal tissue's edema by the treatment, please do not drink alcohol.
Q19.Can I take a bath during treatment?Open+
A19.You can take a bath as usual during treatment. Since the skin at the irradiation part will be inflamed and the condition is like light sunburn, it is sensitive to stimulation. Staying in the bath for a long time or rubbing the part may cause irritation, so please be careful when bathing. Also, we recommend that you not go to hot springs, saunas, stone spas and swimming pools during or immediately after treatment. Please enjoy after the inflammation of the irradiated area has faded.
Q20.Can I get the flu vaccination?Open+
A20.Patients who wish to get the flu vaccine, please consult our doctor beforehand.
Q21.Will the cancer disappear after heavy ion therapy?Open+
A21.Depending on the type of cancer, cancers damaged by heavy ion therapy gradually shrink over time. Although the effectiveness of treatment might be recognized during treatment, it usually takes some time before the treatment effect is obtained. Therefore, after heavy ion therapy, we follow-up regularly in cooperation with the patient's primary doctor.
Q22.How do you evaluate the effect of treatment?Open+
A22.The way of evaluating the treatment is using methods such as CT / MRI / PET-CT, diagnostic findings, blood test (tumor marker), and improvement of the subjective symptoms of the patient. Since the response to treatment cannot be judged by only one examination, follow-up observation every 1 to 6 months after treatment will be performed by the doctor of our center.
Q1.Is there a parking lot in the facility?Open+
A1.There is a parking lot in our center. However, due to the limited number of spaces, please use the nearby parking lot when our parking lot is full.
Q2.Are there shops and ATMs in the facility?Open+
A2.There are vending machines for drinks in our center, but there are no convenience stores, ATMs, coffee shops, etc.
Q3.Is accommodation nearby?Open+
A3.There is accommodation near our facility.
However, we do not arrange accommodation, so please make reservations by yourself.
Q4.Can I borrow a wheelchair?Open+
A4.If you need a wheelchair when you come to our center, please make a request at the reception. Also, when you return the wheelchair, please let the receptionist know.
(*Please note that wheelchairs are limited in number.)