Innovative Cancer Treatment in Knoxville, TN

Celebrating the Four-Year Anniversary of the Most Innovative Cancer Treatment in the World and Available in Knoxville, Tennessee!

By | Breast Cancer, Cancer, Culture of Care, East Tennessee, Events, Innovation, Knoxville, News, Patient Experience, Proton Ambassadors, Proton Therapy, Provision CARES, Tennessee | No Comments

Many online blogs tell us the traditional 4th anniversary gift is flowers or fruit, but at Provision CARES Proton Therapy, we prefer cake! January 20th marks the 4th anniversary of operation for Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville (PCPTK) providing the most innovative cancer treatment in the world, proton therapy.

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Provision Culture of Safety

Provision’s Culture of Safety

By | Cancer, Culture of Care, News, Patient Experience, Proton Therapy, Provision CARES, safety, Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments

At Provision CARES Proton Therapy, we are dedicated to providing a safe workplace for our employees and a safe treatment environment for our patients. Just this month, our Provision CARES Cancer Center team in Knoxville received the official Accreditation Certificate issued by ASTRO (“Accreditation Certificate”). To receive this accreditation, the team was required to focus on five pillars of patient care. One of the five pillars of patient care is safety. The team demonstrated and committed to the highest standards of safety through daily processes and procedures. To read more about the Accreditation process and this achievement see our previous blog here. Read More

Provision is first in Knoxville and the state of Tennessee to achieve ASTRO’s APEx Accreditation Certificate

By | Cancer, Clinical Care, Culture of Care, East Tennessee, Knoxville, News, Patient Experience, Proton Therapy, Provision CARES, Tennessee | No Comments

After months of preparing and a thorough review process, we are proud to announce Provision CARES Proton Therapy-Knoxville is the first radiation facility in the state of Tennessee and the first private practice proton center to receive the official certificate of ASTRO’s Accreditation Program for Excellence (“APEx”).  APEx is an independent radiation oncology practice accreditation program developed by ASTRO, American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, based on a comprehensive set of sixteen evidence-based standards of radiation oncology practice.

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New proton therapy cancer center to open across from Williamson Medical Center

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A cancer treatment center specializing in proton therapy, an increasingly popular treatment, is set to open in the summer of 2018.

Provision Healthcare, a clinical provider and developer of cancer treatments, will open a Provision CARES Cancer Center on Carothers Parkway, across from Williamson Medical Center, said Dr. Terry Douglass, Ph.D., the executive chair of Provision.

Proton therapy, said Douglass, is a form of advanced radiation technology that impairs the DNA of cancer cells and causes them to die.

Unlike traditional radiation methods, a machine called a cyclotron is used to pinpoint cancer cells, targeting diseased cells while minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

“It’s like using a rifle compared to a shotgun,” Douglass said of the therapy.

“We developed a new technology that is a lower cost, that uses smaller and lighter technology,” Douglass said of the 200-ton machine which is used to treat cancer.

In traditional chemotherapy or radiation techniques, side effects are common. But with proton therapy, Douglass said side effects are less pronounced; he also said numerous data support the use of proton therapy, including better long-term outcomes for patients.

The treatment is becoming more common for illnesses like prostate cancer, but studies show mixed results, not conclusively supporting the treatment as better than traditional radiation.

Proton therapy centers are popping up across the country. According to the National Association of Proton Therapy, there are currently 26 proton therapy centers in operation with 11 under construction or in development.

The Franklin location will be the company’s second center in Tennessee. The original campus opened in January of 2014 in Knoxville. Planned expansions in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida, are in the works, said Douglass.

Of the decision to be based in Franklin, Douglass said the surrounding health care centers and climate of technological innovation made it a good choice, noting Tennessee Oncology and Vanderbilt as two top-notch cancer treatment centers.

Douglass said the spot on Carothers Parkway, in a central location with easy access to the interstate, would make it easy for patients from Tennessee, as well as Kentucky and Alabama, to reach the center.

“These patients are here from four to eight weeks. They get five treatments Monday through Friday, then they have the weekend off,” he said. “We were looking for a site that would be amenable to the patients.”

“Being near the Williamson County Medical Center was very important to us as well,” he continued. “Franklin has just become a hub of healthcare services.”

In addition to the center, the company will build 72,000 square feet of office space, which Douglass said will house medical companies including Tennessee Oncology and drug discovery and trials for the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center.

Mary Lou DuBois, the president of Provision Health Partners, said the location will open some time this summer, and will hire 75 to 80 employees to staff the center.

“We’re about developing a culture of care that is totally focused on the patient and walking through and with them as they’re on their journey,” she said of center’s mission.

In 2005, Provision Healthcare was founded by Douglass in Knoxville. The organization operates as a for-profit healthcare solutions company, while both the Knoxville and Franklin cancer centers are non-profits.

“New proton therapy cancer center to open across from Williamson Medical Center.” Brooke Wanser, Brentwood HomePage

It’s like NASA landed in Franklin: Proton-therapy center nears completion

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After nearly two years of construction, Provision CARES Proton Therapy Nashville is nearing completion of its $100 million cancer-treatment center — minus some areas of the roof.

That’s because crews still need to lower a 28-foot-diameter gantry — a structure about the size of an above-ground pool that rotates around a patient during therapy, allowing treatment from different angles —into place at the 45,000-square-foot facility.


It will be the second center for Knoxville-based Provision CARES, which provides proton-radiation treatment for cancer patients. The Franklin campus will also include a 72,000-square-foot medical office building at the cost of $18 million. Both buildings are being funded by tax-exempt bonds issued by the Williamson County Industrial Development Board and are expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.

The gantry, however, is relatively light lifting over at the 11-acre site. In July, a 220-ton particle accelerator, almost the same weight as the Statue of Liberty, was delivered to the facility. Rod Manning, service and maintenance manager at Provision CARES subsidiary ProNova Solutions, said the massive piece of equipment, called a cyclotron, was lowered into place by a 440-ton crane, the largest in Tennessee.

“It’s like NASA landed in Franklin,” Manning said.

Proton therapy delivers a high dose of radiation through a beam and, according to Provision CARES Director of Medical Physics Marc Blakey, has fewer side effects than traditional X-ray radiation.

Blakey said he can plot exactly where cancer is in the body and attack it while sparing surrounding tissue.

“The beam enters and only goes as deep as the tumor. It doesn’t exit the body,” Blakey said. “This allows for a higher dose because we can avoid critical structures.”

The cyclotron acts as the engine in the process, producing beams of protons into one of three gantries enclosed with two-meter thick doors made of lead-reinforced concrete. Most treatments only last a few minutes; Blakey said the center could facilitate up to 90 patients a day.

The two-story building will also house work areas for Gilda’s Club of Tennessee and Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation. Hamilton is on the board at Provision CARES and will have an office at the center.

Tara Mullaney, vice president at Provision CARES, said the inside of the building is designed to feel like a hotel more than a medical facility. Each dressing room will be outfitted with TVs and will have their own themes. The waiting room will a kids play area and a large bell to be rung every time a patient completes the entirety of their treatment.

“Cancer patients are going through enough so we want to make them as comfortable as possible,” Mullaney said. “They are coming here every day so they get to know the staff and feel welcomed.”

Mullaney said that while proton treatment isn’t new — the first center opened in the 1990s — it’s still not widely known. She said that’s because the initial investment for equipment is so high and not all insurance plans cover the therapy, where treatment costs about $2,000 per visit.

The word, however, is spreading, Mullaney said. The Franklin facility will be the 26th proton-treatment center in the nation, up from 13 five years ago, and Provision CARES has plans to build three more centers, she said. Those will be in Orlando, New Orleans and China.

Mullaney said ProNova, a Provision subsidiary, is also designing ways to decrease the size of equipment, therefore making it less expensive to access proton treatment.

“We are always thinking of ways to get better,” Mullaney said. “Franklin costs considerably less than the center in Knoxville because of the reduction in size of equipment and smaller footprint.”

“It’s like NASA landed in Franklin:’ Proton-therapy center nears completion.” Joel Stinnett, Nashville Business Journal

Latest research shows benefit of proton therapy for children with head and neck cancer

By | Head and neck cancer, Innovation, News, Pediatric Cancer, Proton Therapy, side effects, Survivors, Uncategorized | No Comments

Thousands of cancer patients have and could benefit from proton therapy, and children definitely top the list.

This week, exciting news has emerged from the renowned Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia confirming that proton therapy effectively treats pediatric cancers of the head and neck and reduces the side effects often experience with conventional radiation treatment.

It’s one more step toward growing and full recognition of proton therapy in the medical community as a state-of-the-art treatment option for cancer. Read More

Provision Healthcare Announces National Survey Results

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Provision Healthcare Announces National Survey Results
Men treated for prostate cancer using proton therapy reported significantly better quality of life than other therapy options

Knoxville, TN (September 27, 2016)— A national survey released today reported that men treated for prostate cancer who received proton therapy reported significantly better quality of life during and after treatment than those treated with brachytherapy, surgery or traditional x-ray therapy.  The survey carried out via phone and online, by Bryant Research profiled 755 men, ages 50-75, who were surveyed at least 12 months after treatment.

Patients who received proton therapy reported the best outcomes for overall quality of life, urinary function, digestive function, sexual function, ability to remain active during treatment, and living life the way they wanted to after treatment.  Notably, more than 70% of proton therapy patients reported that treatment did not interfere at all with their overall quality of life.

“These survey results confirm proton therapy’s ability to target radiation to the cancer site without damaging surrounding healthy tissue,” says Scott Warwick, Vice President of Provision Healthcare.  “With proton therapy, patients feel better during treatment and have a better quality of life afterward.”

Other notable results included:

  • The proportion of proton therapy patients reporting that their treatment had no impact on their sexual function was almost double that of the next best scoring treatment in this survey.
  • Ninety-seven (97%) percent of proton therapy patients said they would recommend their treatment to other men with prostate cancer, significantly higher than the other treatment options.
  • Ninety-seven (97%) percent of proton therapy patients said they would select this same treatment option should they have to make the decision today compared to brachytherapy (68%), conventional radiation therapy (66%), and surgery (58%) patients.

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses a beam of high-energy protons to treat various forms of cancer.  Unlike conventional radiation therapy, in which x-ray beams deposit most of their energy into the healthy tissue prior to entry and upon exit of the tumor site, the protons can be better controlled, allowing most of the energy to be deposited directly into the tumor and thus reducing damage to nearby healthy tissue.


About Provision Healthcare, LLC

Provision Healthcare, LLC, (Provision) was formed in 2005 with the purpose of developing innovative healthcare solutions focused on improving patient care and clinical outcomes and developing support for research, educational, and charitable causes. Provision has developed a unique, comprehensive expertise in proton therapy that distinguishes it from other equipment suppliers and proton and cancer center developers and operators that have a much narrower focus. The combination of a unique expertise and innovative, entrepreneurial approach continues to propel Provision towards a position of industry leadership with respect to both cancer care and proton therapy.


Nancy Howard
(865) 603-0865

Provision Center for Proton Therapy Treats 1,000th Patient

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Provision Center for Proton Therapy Treats 1,000th Patient

Knoxville, TN (June 7, 2016)—

Today, 1,000 patients have graduated from the Provision Center for Proton Therapy, completing their course of proton therapy as part of their journey to defeating cancer. The 1000th patient marks an important milestone in the proton center’s development into a critical component of the comprehensive cancer campus at Dowell Springs and as a community resource in East Tennessee.

The center launched operations on January 20, 2014, with one treatment room. Three patients underwent therapy the center’s first day of business. Today the center is treating more than 90 patients per day in three treatment rooms. Each patient closes out his or her round of treatment by ringing the “victory bell” in the proton therapy center lobby, part of Provision’s unique “Culture of Care” experience.

The center has treated cancer affecting 53 sites in the body including head and neck, lung, esophageal, endocrine, prostate, breast, brain, bladder, sarcoma, tongue, lymph nodes, sinuses, bladder, eye and colon cancers as well as pediatric cancers.

Patients have come to Knoxville from 29 states and eight countries including the Netherlands, Taiwan, Mexico, Brazil and China. Thirty-four percent of patients travel to Provision Center for Proton Therapy from out of town, making East Tennessee home during their four-to-eight-week treatment while they experience our local and regional hospitality. More than 10,000 hotel room nights have been contributed to the Knoxville area since the center opened, greatly impacting the local and state economy.

Nearly 600 patients who graduated from treatment have now become Ambassadors—champions for Provision and proton therapy.

“With 1,000 patients successfully treated, we have established our reputation for excellence in medical treatment and customer care,” says Tom Welch, president of Provision Center for Proton Therapy. “Since we’ve opened our doors, many of the area physicians have seen the benefits of proton therapy for their patients and have continued to grow their support and involvement in our center. We are proud to have been the 13th proton center operating in the United States and excited to see that number grow to 22 in less than three years. Knoxville is very fortunate to be able to access this wonderful, proven treatment for cancer patients.”

Unlike conventional radiation therapy, which uses x-rays, protons deposit their energy in a specified location, treating the cancer and sparing the patient.  Provision features state-of-the-art technology including pencil beam scanning, which allows more precise targeting of the cancer, sophisticated treatment planning and management software and innovations such as SpaceOAR gel, which further protects vulnerable organs from radiation in prostate cancer patients.


About Provision Center for Proton Therapy

Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the first cancer treatment center of its kind in Tennessee and only the third in the Southeastern United States.  Open to all credentialed physicians and health systems in the region, the Provision Center for Proton Therapy has three treatment rooms and is able to treat up to 900 cancer patients annually. The center utilizes intensity modulated pencil beam scanning, the most accurate proton beam therapy in the world. This advanced cancer treatment capability is available in only a handful of cities. Provision Center for Proton Therapy is one of only 17 proton therapy centers in the nation and 50 in the world.

Provision medical director speaks at ASTRO on benefits of SpaceOAR gel product

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Knoxville, TN (Oct. 19, 2015)—ASTRO Booth #250—Marcio Fagundes, M.D., medical director of Provision Center for Proton Therapy, will speak today in San Antonio, Texas, at the 57th annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) on the results of using a product that helps protect prostate cancer patients from radiation exposure.

Six months after being the first proton therapy center to use SpaceOAR, more than 100 Provision patients have received the spacer, which fills the gap between the prostate and rectal wall, protecting the rectum from any minimal radiation exposure that may be incurred during treatment.

The injection replaces the familiar balloon once inserted into the rectum of men before being treated for prostate cancer. The one-time gel injection prevents irritation and injury that can occur with the daily balloon placement in addition to preventing longer-term impacts of treatment such as prostatitis. Following treatment, the gel simply is absorbed into the body and discharged in the patient’s urine.

Manufactured by Augmenix, Inc., SpaceOAR is the first product in the United States FDA-approved to protect the rectum in men undergoing prostate cancer radiotherapy. Provision Center for Proton Therapy began using SpaceOAR just a week after FDA approval. Provision now serves as a training center where the product manufacturer, Augmenix, brings physicians from other centers to learn the injection technique.

“We were the first center, and I was the first physician to be certified to use SpaceOAR in external beam therapy, once the product was released by the FDA” said Fagundes, a board certified radiation oncologist. “We were a pioneer in introducing this and it has proven to be highly effective for our patients.”

Seventy-year-old Frank Potts from Columbia, SC, the 100th patient to receive the spacer, said he was pleased Provision is using the hydrogel in lieu of the daily balloon procedure.

“I’m really, really pleased with the spacer,” Potts said. “I’ve had no discomfort, no problems. And to the extent that it’s a medical improvement over the balloon, I can’t imagine not doing it.”

About Provision Center for Proton Therapy

Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the first cancer treatment center of its kind in Tennessee and only the third in the Southeastern United States.  Open to all credentialed physicians and health systems in the region, the Provision Center for Proton Therapy has three treatment rooms and is able to treat up to 900 cancer patients annually. The center utilizes intensity modulated pencil beam scanning, the most accurate proton beam therapy in the world. This advanced cancer treatment capability is available in only a handful of cities. Provision Center for Proton Therapy is one of only 17 proton therapy centers in the nation and 50 in the world.

Provision and RaySearch partner on RayStation proton therapy training

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Provision and RaySearch partner on RayStation proton therapy training

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 18, 2015)—ASTRO Booth #250—Provision Healthcare is partnering with leading treatment planning software developer, RaySearch Laboratories AB, to offer new user education at the Provison Center for Proton Therapy’s state-of-the-art treatment and training facilities.

Provision was the first proton therapy center to adopt the company’s system, called RayStation, and has worked collaboratively with RaySearch since the launch of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy in January 2014.

“Over the past nearly two years, we have put RayStation through its paces, and we are pleased with the results. The physicists and medical dosimetrists who come for training will have a chance to learn from our clinical staff and see RayStation in action at a working medical center,” said Niek Schreuder, chief medical physicist for Provision Center for Proton Therapy. “Our world-class proton therapy facility plus a modern, fully-equipped training center will provide both classroom and hands-on instruction for the staff who will be working with patients and physicians in treatment planning.”

Trainers from Provision and RaySearch will conduct five-day training sessions, starting in January 2016, in both basic and advanced proton therapy planning.

“Although RaySearch provides planning training for our customers in our training center in New York, having a clinical site that can provide the entire spectrum of knowledge and experience is very valuable – especially a site like Provision that has been so successful in their implementation,” said Marc Mlyn, President of RaySearch Americas, the American subsidiary of RaySearch Laboratories AB.  “We are pleased to partner with the Knoxville team to offer such a high level of training.”

Because proton therapy is applied so precisely to a tumor, careful planning is essential to ensure the protons hit their target and to minimize damage of non-cancerous surrounding tissue. RayStation allows for detailed planning, while accounting for potential changes and needed adjustments over the weeks a patient undergoes treatment. Provision has experience in treating a range of tumor types and disease sites and will provide instruction in patient data management, patient modeling, planning and optimization, automated planning techniques and adaptive planning.

About Provision Healthcare
Provision Healthcare is a comprehensive healthcare group in the United States integrating clinical services, R&D, manufacturing, investment and a charitable foundation.  With an emphasis in cancer, Provision Healthcare is committed to providing cutting edge treatment, early detection and personalized care for cancer patients around the world.

About Provision Center for Proton Therapy
Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the first cancer treatment center of its kind in Tennessee and only the third in the Southeastern United States.  Open to all credentialed physicians and health systems in the region, the Provision Center for Proton Therapy has three treatment rooms and is able to treat up to 900 cancer patients annually. The center utilizes intensity modulated pencil beam scanning, the most accurate proton beam therapy in the world. This advanced cancer treatment capability is available in only a handful of cities. Provision Center for Proton Therapy is one of only 17 proton therapy centers in the nation and 50 in the world.

About RaySearch

RaySearch Laboratories AB (publ) is a medical technology company that develops advanced software solutions for improved radiation therapy of cancer. RaySearch markets the RayStation® treatment planning system to clinics all over the world. In addition, RaySearch’s products are distributed through licensing agreements with leading medical technology companies. RaySearch’s software solutions are used by over 2,500 clinics in more than 65 countries. RaySearch was founded in 2000 as a spin-off from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and the company is listed in the Small Cap segment on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm.