proton therapy for cancer Archives - Provision CARES Proton Therapy Center

Provision Focuses on More Than Just Treatment

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One of the unique aspects of Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the Culture of Care that patients experience as well as the wholistic approach to offered to each patient. One aspect of that is nourishing and healing the body through exercise and nutrition.  Patients and family members of patients are encouraged to take advantage of the comprehensive wellness center located on the Dowell Springs campus right across the street from Provision Center for Proton Therapy.  Patients undergoing proton therapy treatments, and their family members, can have access to Provision Health & Performance for only $10 per week while the patient is undergoing treatment. The center offers personal training, fitness classes, nutritional counseling and physical therapy.  Incorporating fitness and good nutrition while undergoing treatment is an important component of the treatment and healing process.


Eating well is very important for patients diagnosed with cancer and under cancer treatment.  Balance and moderation in the nutrients consumed as well as meal / snack timing is necessary to:

•             maintain strength and energy level

•             prevent wasting of body tissue / muscle mass

•             lower the risk of infections

•             repair / recover faster

The four main nutritional goals for cancer patients include:

•             Strive to maintain a healthy weight

•             Consume foods and beverages for managing cancer and treatment-related side effects

•             Select and eat healthy foods that supply the body with fuel and nutrients for repair and healing

•             Reduce risk of cancer recurrence and the development of a second malignancy


Physical Activity

Physical activity can help you maintain muscle mass, muscle strength and bone strength, reduce depression, stress, fatigue, nausea and constipation, and improve appetite.   Energy levels vary depending on the type of cancer, stage of cancer and type of treatment.   Therefore, the amount and type of physical activity can vary greatly from one person to another.  A realistic goal for physical activity is one that is individualized and may change from one day to the next.  Ideally, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, like walking, each week.  Rest when you need to.  If 150 minutes seems too much, that is ok.  Now is not the time to push yourself to exercise.  Even small amounts of movement are beneficial.  The beautiful Dowell Springs campus is home to a scenic 2-mile walking trail that meanders by waterfalls and breathtaking natural landscaping.  A daily walk on the trail is a perfect way to get some exercise and enjoy the peaceful beauty of our campus.

For more information on the services offered at Provision Health & Performance call (865) 232-1414


Casey Peer is Chief Dietitian at Provision Health and Performance.  To set up a personal nutritional counseling session with Casey, please contact her at (865) 232-1414.

Milestone: 200

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Provision Center for Proton Therapy recently treated its 200th patient.  We’ve treated patients from 18 states and four countries since treating patient number one on January 20, 2014.  The milestone of 100 patients was reached back in August.

The center opened less than two years after breaking ground in April 2012.  A 220-ton cyclotron, a particle accelerator that produces protons, was installed a year ago in January 2013 at the center, which sits on the 120-acre comprehensive outpatient medical campus at Dowell Springs in Knoxville.  The pastoral campus provides a resort setting with paved walking trails, waterfalls, beautiful landscape that reflects the areas natural beauty and benches to rest, visit, read, reflect or just observe nature.    With out-of-town patients from other states and countries traveling to Knoxville for treatments at Provision Center for Proton Therapy, the economic impact to the Knoxville community is significant.

We are extremely honored to be able to offer the most advanced cancer treatment in the world to the Knoxville and surrounding communities.  We welcome the international patients who are researching and seeking out proton therapy as their treatment of choice.

Hundreds attend Provision Grand Opening Celebration

By | Clinical Care, Culture of Care, East Tennessee, Events, Patient Experience, Patient Hospitality, Patient Stories, Proton Therapy, Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments

A rainy and windy day did not keep more than 500 community members from attending the official Grand Opening celebration of Provision Center for Proton Therapy, Tennessee’s first and only proton therapy treatment facility.  Olympic gold medalist and Provision board member Scott Hamilton was a special speaker, along with Provision founder Dr. Terry Douglass, medical director Marcio Fagundes, MD., Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and proton therapy patients.

Provision’s ceremonial “Victory Bell” played an integral role in the celebration as it does when patients graduate from their proton therapy treatments.   A symbol of joy, accomplishment and hope, the bell is rung three times by each patient that completes treatment.

Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold-medalist and cancer survivor, expressed enthusiasm at the event.  “This is a great, big, huge, awesome day,” he said. “Cancer treatment options just keep getting better and better. To have a proton therapy center in your backyard, you have no idea how awesome that is.”

Dr. Marcia Fagundes, medical director at the center, said the ProvisionCenter for Proton Therapy will welcome two new board-certified radiation oncologists this summer.  “We have a staff assembled from across the country and from right here in Knoxville with the best of the best,” he said.

Two cancer survivors and proton therapy patients, Don Denton and David Hutchins, shared their stories with the crowd.  Denton, who wrote a book about his experience, said, “I call proton therapy the best-kept secret in medicine. Thank you, Terry Douglass and his phenomenal team. They are game-changers in defeating cancer. Our region is so blessed to have them here.”

Hutchins completed his treatment on March 20, a year to the day that his mother passed away and he received his diagnosis of prostate cancer. He said, “I really cannot say enough good about the staff that works at this facility. Provision has given me a new reason to view that day in a new light.”

For more information on the Provision Center for Proton Therapy, visit the web site at www.provisionproton.com or vall (865) 862-1600

Provision Celebrates Another Milestone: Gantry Treatment Room Open

By | Clinical Care, Culture of Care, Patient Experience, Patient Hospitality, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments

The Creekside treatment room (pictured above) at Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the first of two 360-degree gantry treatment rooms that can treat patients who have more complex cancers in a variety of disease sites. 

Provision Center for Proton Therapy celebrated yet another milestone this week – the opening of the first of two gantry treatment rooms.   The gantry rotates 360 degrees around the patient enabling us to treat a variety of more complex cancers such as brain, lung, breast, head and neck, esophageal, and pediatric cancers.

Pencil Beam Scanning

This room will also have a precise form of treatment: Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS). Pencil beam scanning uses a beam that is much smaller than those used in more common proton treatments and allows us to “paint” the tumor with protons. It can therefore be used to treat difficult tumors at higher doses and with fewer side effects to surrounding healthy tissue. There are currently less than 10 centers in the United States that have access to this incredible technology.

Third Treatment Room

Our third treatment room is scheduled to open in early fall. Once the third treatment room opens the Provision Center for Proton Therapy will have the ability to provide life-saving cancer treatment to as many as 90+ patients per day.

Grand Opening

The Provision team would like to invite all former, current, and future patients along with friends and family to the official Grand Opening of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy on Wednesday, April 30 at 3 p.m. We will have special guest speakers in celebration of the grand opening. Refreshments will be provided and the center will be open for tours. Please contact us at (865) 862-1600 to RSVP or for more information.

Provision Answers Common Questions About Proton Therapy Treatments

By | Clinical Care, Culture of Care, Patient Experience, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments

Most of us are overwhelmed and filled with fear when we hear the word “Cancer.”  Of course this is to be expected when we experience difficult periods in our lives. When we feel we have lost control of what we consider normal, we walk through many stages to arrive at a new normal.

As we begin the journey towards our “new normal,” there are usually tests, doctor’s appointments and treatments in our future. We look for areas of our lives that we can control throughout this process. And with that two of the most frequently asked questions at Provision Center for Proton Therapy are: “When will my treatments start?” and “How many treatments will I have?”

As part of Provision’s clinical care team, we take these questions seriously. We have made a commitment to our patients and to the community to offer the highest standards of cancer care. We want our patients to have the best treatment available for their diagnosis, and we want to help minimize the stress and anxiety involved in going to the doctor.

When will my treatments start?

There are many factors involved in planning for a proton therapy treatment.  When someone diagnosed with cancer calls our center, wondering if they may be a proton candidate, several things begin to happen. Either our care coordinators or one of our physicians will have a detailed conversation with the prospective patient or the referring physician. We will also request the individual’s medical records for our review.

When we receive medical records, our physicians will review and discuss them and decide if proton therapy is the best option for this individual. If the physicians agree the individual is candidate for proton therapy, our care coordinators will call the perspective patient to come in for a consultation and physical exam.  In addition, our financial team will begin speaking with their insurance company.

When a prospective patient comes in for a consultation, they may be at our facility for two to three hours. Though this seems like a long time, it is not actual ‘waiting’ time.  A nurse, doctor, clinical research nurse and a member of our financial team will speak with the individual if necessary.  We want to help our patients’ treatment to go smoothly, therefore, gathering information and educating the patient is very important.  At this point, our physicians will be ready to decide if proton therapy is the best treatment for this individual.

It is likely that most patients will need additional tests or scans before we begin their actual treatment planning. Our clinical staff will work closely with our patients to schedule tests at the most convenient times possible. Treatment planning can take a few days up to two weeks depending on the diagnosis and the complexity of the treatment plan.

It is very important that we communicate openly.  We want our patients to tell us what they are looking for in a timeline for treatment, and we will try to meet that expectation as closely as we can. At times we may have patients waiting to start their treatment at a later date, but we would never ask anyone to wait if it weren’t completely safe for them to do so.  This is definitely a subject that patients, physicians and the clinical team must work closely on together.

How many treatments will I have?

Just like the treatment start date, there are several factors that determine how many treatments a patient will receive. Every patient is a unique individual, and even with the same diagnosis, no patient is treated exactly the same. We must take into consideration: diagnosis, staging, size, peripheral tissue and organ structures and other medical conditions.

The physician will write a prescription for proton therapy, just like regular prescriptions that are used for receiving medication.  This prescription will state the physician’s desired dose for treatment, number of treatments, and the targeted area of treatment for their patient.

Our physicians, medical physicists and dosimetrists will work together on a treatment plan that is customized for each patient. Only the physicians will be able to inform our patients of exactly how many treatments they will need.

Every patient is different, so every treatment is different. Our physicians will take as much time as necessary to explain this to every patient and answer all of their questions during their visit at Provision Center for Proton Therapy.

Each and every patient is important to our team.  Our goal for our patients, while they are here, is not only to treat their body but their mind and soul as well. When their treatments are complete, we hope that they can begin their “new normal” with health and wellness.

For more information on whether proton therapy is right for you, please call (865) 862-1600.  Click here to subscribe to our “Proton Post” newsletter.


Susan Stinnett is the Director of Clinical Services for Provision Center for Proton Therapy and has been a radiation therapist for 17 years and a clinical leader for 5 years.

Provision & ProNova Join Other Proton Industry Leaders at 2014 Conference

By | Clinical Care, Events, Patient Stories, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments

Proton therapy patient and prostate cancer survivor, Bill Barbour, was a guest speaker at the 2014 National Proton Conference in Washington, D.C.  Barbour is a proton therapy advocate that educates and shares his experience with others.  See his story in the video above.

The National Proton Conference in Washington, D.C., was a convergence of proton therapy community leaders, clinicians, advocates and vendors.  The NPC is the premier proton therapy event of the year where the best of the best in the proton community was on hand.  Highlights of the event included a presentation by Christopher Pericak of The Advisory Board Company about the state of the proton therapy marketplace in today’s health care reform climate.  Proton pioneer Dr. James Cox kicked off the conference with a keynote speech about “where we are headed.”  Dr. Elise Berliner, from the U.S. federal agency on health research and quality (AHRQ), along with Provision’s own Scott Warwick, addressed patient registries.   Joe Matteo educated to attendees about the advances of ProNova’s compact SC360 proton therapy system.  Provision Center for Proton Therapy’s medical director, Dr. Marcio Fagundes joined a panel of experts on treating breast cancer with proton therapy and Niek Schreuder, Provision chief medical physicist, spoke on the innovations in design, equipment and engineering.  Additionally, the economics of proton therapy, planning, developing and launching a proton center, plus treating breast, head and neck cancers, and much more was presented.

Another highlight was the announcement of the results of a 2014 NAPT/Dobson DaVanzo report on an in-depth “quality of life” survey of nearly 4,000 prostate patients treated with proton therapy at multiple centers across the U.S.  The conference was a huge success and an important collaboration of clinical and technological efforts in the proton industry.

Tennessee Man Fights for Proton Therapy

By | Clinical Care, East Tennessee, Patient Experience, Patient Stories, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Bryan Massengale, of Dayton, Tennessee, stands on his family’s 100-year-old farm that he borrowed money against in order to get proton therapy treatments for prostate cancer.


The Shopper News published an article this week about a Dayton, Tennessee man who went to great lengths to take his health into his own and fight for the cancer treatment he felt was best for him – proton therapy.  Bryan Massengale has been a public school teacher for 30 years in Rhea County and is a bassonist with the Tennessee Wind Symphony.  At his young age, he wanted the most effective and least damaging treatment possible for his prostate cancer.  When faced with the options given to him by doctors, he instead chose proton therapy, but had to borrow  money against his family’s 100-year-old farm to afford treatments.  The insurance he’d been paying into for 30 years of his career refused to pay for proton therapy treatments at the nearest treatment center at the time in Jacksonville, Florida.  Click here to read his compelling story.

Provision Sets The Record Straight About Proton Therapy

By | Clinical Care, East Tennessee, Patient Experience, Patient Stories, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments


Provision visited WATE Channel 6 for a one-on-one interview with anchor Lori Tucker.  We discussed proton therapy, what it means for East Tennessee and cleared up some misconceptions about cost and the efficacy of treatments.  The pending legislation that is currently before Tennessee lawmakers was also discussed.  Passage of this legislation would require Tennessee insurers to cover Tennesseans for proton therapy treatments.  As it now stands, if you live in Tennessee and are between the ages of 19 and 64, you are not covered for this unique treatment option.  However, citizens of neighboring states like Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia or Florida, are covered and are traveling to East Tennessee to receive treatments.  Please help us make sure this treatment option is available to all Tennesseans who desperately need it.  Urge Tennessee lawmakers to vote YES on House Bill 264 and Senate Bill 435.  Go to www.capitol.tn.gov to locate your Representative.


Tennessee Has State’s Only Proton Therapy Center . . . But Not For Tennesseans

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News clip from WKRN:   Olympic Gold medalist and Provision Center for Proton Therapy board member Scott Hamilton visited Capitol Hill in Nashville to encourage lawmakers to support insurance coverage of proton therapy.

Did You Know . . .

Proton Therapy is the most advanced form of cancer treatment in the world, and now Tennessee has the Provision Center for Proton Therapy located in Knoxville. Our Tennessee proton center is one of only 14 operational centers in the nation. However, due to decisions by insurance carriers in Tennessee, if you are between the ages of 19 to 64, you are not covered for this unique treatment option. If you live in a neighboring state like Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia or Florida, you are covered and you can come to our center in Tennessee to receive treatment.

Help us make sure that this treatment option is available to ALL Tennesseans that need it.  Call or email your representative today and encourage them to VOTE YES on Senate Bill 435 and House Bill 264.


Common Questions about Prostate Cancer Screening – Answered Here!

By | Clinical Care, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Marcio Fagundes, M.D., board certified radiation oncologist and medical director of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy, knows a thing or two about prostate cancer.  In this video blog, he answers the most common questions asked about the screening tests used to detect prostate cancer:

What is a PSA screening?  (Hint:  It does not take place at an airport.)

What is a normal PSA range?  (Hint: Higher is NOT better!)

What is a Gleason Score?  (Hint:  It has nothing to do with Jackie Gleason.)

For more information on PSA testing or to learn more about proton therapy, call 855-566-1600 or visit ProvisionProton.com