proton therapy for prostate cancer Archives - Provision CARES Proton Therapy Center

Data backs up anecdotal evidence

By | Cancer, Clinical Care, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, research, Scott Warwick, side effects, surgery, Survivors, Uncategorized | No Comments

A recently released national survey reported that men treated for prostate cancer who received proton therapy experienced significantly better quality of life during and after treatment than those treated with 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 were significantly more likely than those who received brachytherapy, surgery or traditional x-ray therapy to report treatment did not interfere with sexual function. They also described feeling better during treatment and better outcomes with respect to urinary function, bowel function, digestive function and the ability to stay active. Read More

Provision first to adopt hydrogel for prostate patients

By | Clinical Care, Dr. Marcio Fagundes, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, Technology, Uncategorized | No Comments


Four patients yesterday received an injection that provides the latest in protection from radiation damage during treatment for prostate cancer.

It’s a hydrogel called SpaceOAR, which when injected inside the body protects vulnerable, healthy tissue in the rectum, which sits adjacent to the prostate, from unwanted doses of radiation. Proton therapy already provides superior outcomes, with notably fewer side effects, to more traditional treatments of surgery or other forms of radiation. The Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the first proton therapy center to offer the product.

“The SpaceOAR product provides us with even more ability to keep our patients comfortable and further prevent long-term side effects as a result of their treatment,” said Marcio Fagundes, M.D.

For more information on proton therapy for prostate cancer, call 1-855-566-1600 to speak to one of our Care Coordinators.

Richard Patton: Proton Therapy Patient Story – Part 1

By | Patient Experience, Patient Stories, Prostate Cancer, Proton Therapy, Uncategorized | No Comments

Former Provision Center for Proton Therapy patient Richard Patton tells his proton therapy story, in his own words . . .

My journey to proton therapy probably started like a lot of people that choose this type of treatment. I did my due diligence and researched all available treatments to try and find the one that I thought would be best for me. I searched the internet, read tons of material and even spoke with other survivors. I even met with a team of doctors at a top University hospital which is rated as one of the top ten cancer treatment centers in the United States. I must say they did have an impressive facility with a large glass fronted building and a lobby/atrium with lavish furnishings. A string quartet was playing in the mezzanine and a pianist was busy on the main floor.

What I soon found out, however, was the doctors there pretty much pushed their own area of expertise which was primarily surgery and rounds of conventional radiation therapy, hormone therapy, etc… I left there for the trip back home feeling sad and alone with thoughts of treatments resulting in wearing adult diapers or being nauseated for weeks on end from radiation therapy….and what about hormone therapy? Would I start growing breasts and shopping uncontrollably? Obviously more research was required. At that point I had pretty much written off proton therapy because I just couldn’t see me spending weeks in a strange place all by myself and going through the treatments too.

Shortly thereafter, a minor miracle happened. My cousin who lives in Knoxville and works in the medical field told my parents about the new Provision Center for Proton Therapy and suggested I consider it for my treatment. I searched the website and discovered the center was located just about a mile from my parent’s home! I liked the idea of a “radiation vacation” but all indications were that it wasn’t scheduled to open until January 2014 and I had been diagnosed in September 2013. I was really disappointed. I didn’t think I could wait that long because like most people I assumed that once you are diagnosed with cancer the next step is to get it out ASAP. But the University surgeon had told me in early October they wouldn’t be able to operate on me until about mid-December as they like to give the prostate time to heal from the biopsy to lessen the chance of possible infection. That was just another month before theProvision Center was scheduled to open, so I thought this just may work out.

I also discovered that prostate cancer can be a slow growing form of cancer and that many people live with it and employ the watchful waiting technique, so I decided another month wouldn’t really make a big difference.  Things were starting to come together!  I first contacted the Provision Center around the middle of October and spoke with Kathleen Steele and started the process. I received the necessary paper work and Robert J. Marckini’s book, “You Can Beat Prostate Cancer.” I read the book continuously after work and finished it on the second day. I was really getting psyched. I was home for the holidays my parents and I took a tour of the facility. My mother along with the rest of my family were still struggling to come to terms with the fact that my older brother had just passed away suddenly a week earlier. My family was encouraged by the center and were all very hopeful that I would get better.

I came home for a couple of weeks around Christmas and during the first week I had my preliminary work done such as the MRI and placing of the fiducial markers. I joked with the family that no one could say I was worthless anymore because with the gold markers and a gold filling in one of my teeth I was at least worth a few bucks. Looking back I would say that the preliminary work was probably the worst part of the whole experience. I will never forget the kindness that was extended to me by the people at the center. I especially remember Rebecca Thomas, Nurse Manager, holding my hand for the marker placement. That small act of kindness still stands out in my mind. I found out that Zach Dutton, Radiation Therapist, has “the hands of an angel.” I really liked the staff and looked forward to seeing them despite the circumstances. We had a few laughs too, like the time the gown I was given one day looked like it was made for a child and the therapists really liked my “mini-skirt.” One of the girls said she had seen me in a gown so often she probably wouldn’t recognize me if we met on the street. I really miss everyone at Provision and I truly feel like I left a part of myself there too.

I am beginning to miss East Tennessee after being home for so long and I am looking to finding work there. Don’t be surprised if you see me around the water cooler one day. Provision is a place with such great people who really make a difference. I will definitely return for a visit one way or another. My health condition is improving each week and the “plumbing” is working pretty well so I hope to be back to normal soon. I can honestly say that my time with Provision was a life changing experience and I think about it every day. When I think about the day I walked out of my last treatment and everyone was there waiting for me and applauding, I get choked up every time. The real applause belongs to the staff at Provision Center for Proton Therapy and the fine work they do there. I am eternally grateful.

Mr. Patton’s story does not end here . . . look for Part 2 of his inspirational story next week.

Elizabeth Vanzo is the Hospitality Manager at Provision Center for Proton Therapy.


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

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

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