Have You Heard the News?

Posted by on Friday, May 30th, 2014

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Extra, Extra!!  Have you heard the news?  The Provision Proton Post is our patient newsletter that is full of compelling stories, useful information and interesting facts.  You can read first-hand the personal stories of proton therapy patients and learn detailed informaiton about proton therapy.

The newsletter is an electronic-only publication that is distributed by email. Each issue is sent monthly to patients, previous patients and friends of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy (PCPT). As the official newsletter of PCPT, the content is compiled and prepared by our Hospitality Manager, Elizabeth Vanzo, and approved by Mary Lou DuBois, President of PCPT. Special bulletin newsletters may occasionally be prepared when timely topics and new developments in proton therapy occur. If you would like to send a Letter to the Editor, please email: welisten@provisionproton.com


Previous Newsletters:

May 2014: View

April 2014: View

March 2014: View

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A Proton Wife’s Journey

Posted by on Friday, May 23rd, 2014


Rhonda Webster lives just outside Knoxville and this is her story, in her own words:

Fear. That’s how it started. That little nagging fear that something bad is going to happen. My husband’s PSA numbers were increasing with each regular blood test. Not time to be concerned yet, said the doctor, we’ll wait and see. But the numbers kept rising. Next the doctor says it is time for a biopsy. So we get that done. Then comes the call that both of us should come to the appointment to discuss the results.

My educational background is medical technology and laboratory protocols and procedures so I am not easily alarmed until the facts are presented. When I heard the words, “high risk prostate cancer,” the fear became that bone chilling, mind numbing, not breathing, tingling up the arms kind. What do we do now? How soon must something be done? Which is the best treatment? Where do we go from here? How will my husband react to this bad news?

My husband is absolutely not the warm-fuzzy type but if there is a crisis, a disaster or a decision must be made, he is the man you want. After the doctor discussed the treatment options including surgery and radiation, he waited for a reaction. My husband then asked, “What about proton therapy,” to which his urologist replied, “I don’t know much about it therefore I do not recommend it.”  To the doctor’s surprise, my husband said, “Well, I’ve done my research and proton therapy is my treatment choice.” Indeed he had. We are RV’ers and several of our RV friends had already dealt with prostate cancer plus at least two more were currently in proton therapy treatment. The doctor graciously agreed to get the records in order and send them to our treatment facility of choice.

All this happened over two years ago before the Provision Center for Proton Therapy was even a large hole in the ground. Therefore, we had to go out-of-state and be away from our home for two months, adding to my fears the complications of being so far away for so long. My anxiety was relieved within a week of his daily proton therapy because he was having minimal discomfort during the actual treatment which required less than an hour of the day and no side effects were appearing. It was almost embarrassing to admit that we were having a great time while he was being treated for cancer.

The staff was proficient and professional and we were surrounded by men and wives dealing with the same issues and concerns. Life-long friends were being made while having a warm southern vacation away from the cold January/February back in Tennessee.

Soon after we arrived back home we learned about the Provision Center for Proton Therapy coming to Knoxville. We immediately contacted the facility and volunteered to become ambassadors for the program. We now receive a couple of calls a week from gentlemen (sometimes wives) asking all kinds of questions and anxious to hear stories of personal experiences. Being ambassadors has allowed us to meet so many wonderful people, each on their own personal journey with prostate cancer.

My fear is gone.  My husband is cancer free and still no side effects from the treatment.  Thank you, Proton Therapy!

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

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Clinical Research, Bringing Clarity to an Often Confusing Subject

Posted by on Friday, May 9th, 2014

Clinical Research is a key component of our mission here at the Provision Center for Proton Therapy and serves as an integral part of all major comprehensive cancer programs.  Without clinical research, we would not have the vast majority of successful treatments available to cancer patients today.

Often there is confusion between the terms Clinical Research, Clinical Studies, and Clinical Trials.  Clinical Research is a broad term that includes Pre-Clinical Research and Translational Research.  Pre-Clinical Research most often consists of research initially performed in the laboratory that may include animal or human cell lines to test the effectiveness of new therapeutic agents, devices, or procedures.  If this research demonstrates promise, then the research most often moves into the Translational Research phase where it is best determined how to “translate” the pre-clinical research into research in human subjects.  This usually results in the development of Clinical Trials.

Clinical Studies involves research in human subjects to improve medical knowledge as defined by the National Institutes of Health.  Clinical Studies can be divided into two distinct categories.  Clinical Trials and Observational Studies.  A Clinical Trial is developed to determine if new therapeutic agents (chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies), devices (proton therapy, brachytherapy), or procedures (surgery) are effective or better in comparison to other current standard treatments in humans.  Clinical Trials are often broken down into (4) four phases in order to answer different research questions as noted in the table below.*
clinical research procedures chart

Once a new agent, device, or procedure is deemed successful in Phase 3 trials it is then approved by the FDA for use in the general population.

Observational Studies or Registries are very basic clinical studies where data is collected from groups of participants according to a predefined research or protocol plan.  This data is collected from treatments and follow-up visits in order to observe long-term effectiveness or side effects. This can often include quality-of-life surveys that are completed by the participants at different time intervals after their treatments are complete.

Offering the most advanced cancer treatments available is part of our mission here at Provision, and thus Clinical Research is an important aspect of the care we provide.  We offer many innovative clinical and registry trials for our patients to participate in if desired.  Performing this research allows us and our patients to work together to save more lives.

Scott Warwick is Vice President of Program Development & Strategic Initiatives

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

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Hundreds attend Provision Grand Opening Celebration

Posted by on Friday, May 2nd, 2014

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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

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