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.
The Lonas Family Legacy
“Many prayers were said over this land. That it would be used for something beneficial for our community and that it would be a blessing to all who visit…” Dowell Springs is a special place for many people in our community and visitors from near and far. Not only is the campus home to the Historic Lonas farmhouse, it is home to Provision CARES Proton Therapy. The beauty of the property and the magnificent views from the buildings bring a calm and healing atmosphere to all visit. Read More
Dale Clayton first heard about Provision CARES Proton Therapy through a TV commercial. Not knowing he had cancer, he tucked the words “proton therapy” in the back of his mind, hoping that he would never have to remember them. It was February 2015 when Mr. Clayton learned he had prostate cancer. Dale had always been proactive when it came to his health. He said, “my mom always taught me to be proactive.” He went in for regular checkups, yearly physicals, and was well aware of his PSA and gleason score. At his appointment in 2015, all test scores came back normal, but he insisted on a biopsy, just to be sure. Both the doctor and Clayton were shocked, his biopsy came back positive. Dale was diagnosed with low risk, non-aggressive prostate cancer and decided on active surveillance.
Two and a half years later, things started to change. His PSA remained normal but his biopsy showed the cancer had doubled in size. “It’s a miracle we found it,” said Clayton, “I believe God placed the right doctors, urologists, and friends around me to help me make an informed treatment decision.” He researched prostate cancer and treatment options, from surgery to brachytherapy to protons, and there were two things that were very significant to his treatment decision process:
- Cure Rate
- Quality of Life
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
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.
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
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
Proton therapy got positive billing at the recent Particle Therapy Cooperative Group, as researchers from across the country presented findings that showed proton therapy reduced potentially life-altering side effects and improved survival rates for cancer patients.
Sometimes people just get the genetic short end of the stick, but you’d never know Tammy Coleman was one of those people.
Her upbeat personality and contagious enthusiasm belie two heart attacks, a stroke, congestive heart failure and complications related to high blood pressure. And that was all before she was diagnosed with breast cancer—something that ran in her family.
Genetic testing revealed her as the recipient of a genetic mutation that made it highly probable she would develop ovarian cancer too, so within one day Coleman received a double mastectomy and complete hysterectomy.
She had to do chemo, and doctors recommended radiation as well. Because of her existing health problems, particularly related to her heart condition, specialists recommended proton therapy. The targeted nature of protons allow for the benefit of radiation therapy without the collateral damage to surrounding healthy tissue in heart and lungs. Read More
When Kim Fuller found love and a new home in rural East Tennessee, she was harboring a frightening secret.
She had discovered a lump in her right breast. She told no one—not even her daughters. Read More