Provision Celebrates Another Milestone: Gantry Treatment Room Open

Posted by on Friday, April 25th, 2014

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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.

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The Value of Taking a Break

Posted by on Friday, April 18th, 2014

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A peaceful destination is the perfect place to stop and take a break.  We can all benefit from a break, whether from work, stress or just a change of scenery.   Taking a break can sharpen our minds, enhance our creativity, motivation and give us strength to cope with stress.

Remember the story about the man who stopped to sharpen his axe?  Two men were in a competition to see who could chop down the most trees in a day.  One man was much larger and the people in the town were wagering that he would win, 20-1 as the favorite.  The smaller man knew he needed a competitive advantage.  He knew his tool would be his competitive advantage.  When the competition started, both men began chopping fiercely against the clock.  The difference was the smaller man stopped every hour to sharpen his axe.  The sharper axe would give him better precision and efficiency.  Spectators were in awe that he would stop and waste this precious time as the larger man would surely beat him. In the end, the smaller man won the competition, as his axe was sharpened every hour and could chop with more precision, giving him the advantage of a better tool than the larger man using a duller axe.

Our minds are our tools for everything we do, and it’s important to nurture our minds, just as we do our bodies. Located just off Middlebrook Pike in Knoxville, Tennessee, the beautiful campus at Dowell Springs serves as host to 700 employees from a multitude of employers ranging from medical providers and services to federal government, in addition to 500 daily patient visitors, who come to Dowell Springs from all over the region.  Beautifully landscaped grounds and water features replace block after block of asphalt and concrete that’s typical in many business parks and downtown office buildings.

It would be easy to miss this prized treasure on the campus that takes you outdoors to a peaceful park-like setting. Nestled in the center of the campus, the one-mile “Dowell Springs Walking Trail” highlighted by beautiful waterfalls is accessible and convenient from any building on the campus. The trail is paved with sunlight, shade, beautiful landscaping, benches to stop and rest or lawn areas to bring a chair and a book, or a blanket for a picnic lunch. Let your senses enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of all the beautiful seasons, but especially the spring dogwood and redbud blooms, or the colorful display of the fall foliage and the many small creatures that call the campus their home.  The Dowell Springs Walking Trail has been featured in the Dogwood Arts Festival as a “commercial camera site,” open to the public to visit and enjoy its natural beauty. Visit the Knoxville Dogwood Arts Festival at:  www.dogwoodarts.com

Adjacent to the business park is the 1.7-acre site of the Lonas-Dowell house, a local historical landmark built in 1858 from brick molded out of Tennessee clay.  Dowell Springs Business Park donated the adjacent Lonas-Dowell house property, one of the oldest historical and continuously occupied archaeological sites in Knox County, to Knox Heritage for restoration and preservation.

We encourage you to “take a break” wherever you are, and sharpen your axe! If you are in the Dowell Springs area, we invite you visit our magnificent walking trail and immerse yourself in the beauty of this beautiful area.

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Nancy Howard is Vice President of Patient Services and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation.

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Provision Answers Common Questions About Proton Therapy Treatments

Posted by on Friday, April 11th, 2014

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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.

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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.

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Provision & ProNova Join Other Proton Industry Leaders at 2014 Conference

Posted by on Friday, April 4th, 2014

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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.

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