Data backs up anecdotal evidence

Posted by on Thursday, September 29th, 2016


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.

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Get Checked! Free PSA Tests Offered at Eddie Check

Posted by on Friday, September 11th, 2015


When Eddie Kirkland found out he had prostate cancer, it was too late to do anything about it. He died four years later.

That was 1976, and little was known about the risks of prostate cancer—the leading type of cancer in men. But that’s changed, locally thanks in part to an event called Eddie Check, which Kirkland’s son Kevin founded more than 30 years later in his honor.

Eddie Kirkland, Staff Sergeant, Marines

“Back in 1972, you didn’t hear people talk about prostate health, you didn’t hear people talk about PSA tests because there were no PSA tests at that time,” he says. “I always said one day I wanted to do something that impacted men’s health like breast cancer awareness has impacted women’s health.”

Eddie Check pairs free PSA tests for men with a Medic blood drive and will be held Sept. 17 & 18 in locations throughout Knox, Anderson, Scott, Hamblen, Cocke, Blount, Roane and McMinn counties. Last year, the program collected more 1,200 units of blood and conducted more than 1,000 PSA tests. Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the primary medical sponsor for the event, and the Provision CARES Foundation pays for the PSA tests.

For Kevin Wathen of Maryville, getting a PSA test through EddieCheck revealed what a recent trip to his doctor had not: an elevated PSA level. A follow-up biopsy with a urologist in which nine of the 12 samples tested positive for cancer.

“There were no symptoms to tell me there was a problem,” Wathen says. “If I hadn’t had the test done I wouldn’t have given it any thought.”

As a result of EddieCheck, Wathen learned of his diagnosis and became an early patient at Provision Center for Proton Therapy. There, his prostate cancer was treated with protons, a type of radiation that pinpoints a tumor and spares much of the healthy tissue around it. This reduces side effects such as incontinence and impotency as well as discomfort during the time of treatment.

“It still doesn’t feel like I ever had cancer,” Wathen says.

As EddieCheck has grown and expanded, Kirkland says more men locally are becoming familiar with the risk of prostate cancer and how to keep tabs on their health.

“I think the education and the promotion we put out for prostate health have really resonated,” he says, adding that other programs coordinated by local hospitals and advocacy organizations have provided a boost to the most common of men’s cancers. “I think all of that has really improved education on prostate health. It has made us proud to be a small part of that.”

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Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center Unanimously Approved for Nashville

Posted by on Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Terry & Scott in gantry by J. Miles Cary

Scott Hamilton and Terry Douglass stand in an unfinished proton therapy treatment room in 2013 at Provision Center for Proton Therapy in Knoxville. Douglass and Hamilton are developing the Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in Middle Tennessee. Photo by J.Miles Carey/News Sentinel

An application for a certificate of need was approved unanimously (9-0) today by the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency for the development of Tennessee’s third proton therapy cancer treatment center.  Provision Trust, Inc. and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation are planning to develop and operate the first Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in the United States in the city of Franklin in Williamson County.

The $109 million not-for-profit center will be open to all qualified and properly credentialed radiation oncologists, regardless of hospital affiliation, bringing proton therapy to the citizens of Middle Tennessee.  The proton center will be developed on an 11.6-acre vacant lot near Williamson Medical Center and the existing Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Franklin.

Proton Therapy is one of the most advanced treatments available to cancer patients.  Currently, there are only 15 proton therapy centers in the United States. Provision currently owns and operates one of those 14 centers located in Knoxville.  Hamilton serves as a board member of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy.

The addition of the first Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in Hamilton’s city of residence is a significant step towards a progressive new vision in cancer advocacy, awareness and treatment. The center will primarily serve 38 Middle Tennessee counties. Its secondary service area extends to West Tennessee and adjoining areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky.

Read the entire news release here.

Read coverage in the Knoxville News Sentinel here. 

Read coverage in The Tennessean here.

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Center for Biomedical Research Partners with Ackerman Cancer Center in Clinical Registry

Posted by on Friday, May 22nd, 2015


The Center for Biomedical Research is partnering with the world’s newest proton therapy center as part of a clinical meta-registry for clinical outcomes and long-term follow-up of cancer patients receiving proton therapy.

Ackerman Cancer Center has joined the registry study developed and managed by the  Center for Biomedical Research in collaboration with the Provision Center for Proton Therapy. The registry study meets all guidelines as outlined in the AHRQ’s guidelines for Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes.

“With the PRO 0425 study, we are collecting data that will allow us to compare information across disease sites and treatment modalities and provide a unique window into the long-term effectiveness of proton therapy,” said Marcio Fagundes, M.D., medical director for Provision Center for Proton Therapy and principal investigator.

Located in Jacksonville, Fla., Ackerman is the first private, physician-owned practice to offer proton therapy. The center began treating patients in late April.
“It is very important to me that Ackerman Cancer Center be involved in clinical research and contribute to producing evidence based data in support of proton therapy and its benefits for patients,” says Scot Ackerman, M.D., medical director of Ackerman Cancer Center.

The Center for Biomedical Research  (CBR) specializes in the management of clinical trials and has a lengthy history of managing groundbreaking clinical trials such as Herceptin, Avastin, and most recently Imbruvica of which CBR was the only clinical research site in the Southeastern United States. The Center for Biomedical Research has managed hundreds of clinical trials with a particular focus on medical oncology, proton therapy and PET imaging. CBR is regionally noted for its expertise in conducting pharmaceutical trials targeting smaller, rare cancers with specific tumor mutations. CBR and its oncology partners are often selected by major pharmaceutical sponsors and clinical research organizations (CROs) as a regional clinical research site for their most promising cancer therapeutics. The Center for Biomedical Research is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s National Clinical Trial Network (NCTN) as well as the following NCI groups;

  • NRG Oncology
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG)
  • Children’s Oncology Group (COG)
  • Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU)

These organizations bring decades of experience conducting practice defining, multi-institutional clinical trials resulting in improved survival and quality of life for cancer patients.

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Provision & Raysearch: A look at proton therapy treatment planning

Posted by on Wednesday, May 20th, 2015



Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the star in this movie produced by RaySearch and featuring the company’s software system, RayStation. The system allows physicians create custom and adaptable treatment plans for proton therapy patients.

Provision has been utilizing RayStation for treatment planning since the center opened last year. The result? World-class cancer care.

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Tennessee Cancer Patient Bill of Rights – Get Involved

Posted by on Monday, March 9th, 2015

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The Tennessee Cancer Patient Coalition is gearing up and needs your support.  Led by prostate cancer survivor Don Denton, the Coalition aims to pass legislation that ensures Tennesseans have the right to choose the best treatment options and that insurance companies cover the treatment.

Tennessee ranks 22nd in cancer incidence rate but 5th in cancer death rates. The most advanced radiation treatment in the world, proton therapy, is available in Tennessee, but because private insurers refuse to provide meaningful coverage, most Tennesseans do NOT have access to it.

Proton therapy should be covered for all commercially insured patients and Tenncare patients just as Medicare patients are covered.

However, since commercial insurers have, in general, refused to cover proton therapy, Senator Overbey and Representative Haynes have filed the “Cancer Patient Choice Act” in the Tennessee legislature which states: “To afford eligible patients the right to choose the form of radiation therapy that their physician determines will result in the best clinical outcome and to further research and facilitate the accumulation of proton treatment data without increasing costs above current IMRT costs, all physician-prescribed proton therapy for the treatment of breast or prostate cancer under a hypo-fractionated protocol as part of a clinical trial or registry must be covered by both the patient’s commercial insurance as an in-network service and by TennCare.”

To read the entire bill, click here.

Proton therapy is neither an investigational nor experimental treatment. Proton therapy was cleared by the FDA in 1988 and Medicare provides broad coverage for most common cancer indications. Most patients between the ages of 19 to 64 are denied proton therapy insurer reimbursement.

As far as we can determine, proton therapy is the only cancer treatment covered broadly by Medicare and not covered by commercial insurance for the same indications. This may be the result of Obamacare, since Obamacare passed on the responsibility of determining what is covered in the Obamacare Exchange Plans to the insurers who provide those plans.

Proton therapy precisely delivers a curative dose of radiation to the tumor, and improves the cancer patient survival rate, spares the surrounding healthy tissue, reduces side effects and secondary malignancies and increases the patient’s quality of life.

The top 10 cancer centers in the United States, including MD Anderson, Mayo Clinic, and Memorial-Sloan Kettering, either have or are developing proton therapy centers. There are 14 operational proton centers in the US, 14 under construction, and 15 under development. Tennessee has one proton center operational (Provision Center for Proton Therapy in East Tennessee), one under construction (St. Jude in Memphis), and one under development (Scott Hamilton Proton Center in Middle Tennessee).

The cost of proton therapy continues to decrease as clinicians realize its unique potential for treating the cancer with far fewer treatments of higher doses; and in many cases today, the cost for proton therapy is less than the cost of other forms of treatment.

Insurance companies are making record profits as they refuse to pay for doctor-prescribed treatments. Since Obamacare became law, the big for-profit insurers are making record profits. Their stock price has more than doubled and in many cases more than tripled. At the same time, there is evidence that, to enhance the bottom line, they have been dumping unprofitable individually insured customers and small-business customers and refusing to pay for physician-prescribed care, including proton therapy.

Please visit the Tennessee Cancer Patient Coalition web site.  We ask that you contact  your legislator and pledge support for the Cancer Patient Choice Act (SB-0902 & HB-1006).  Also, please join our Facebook community and share our message with your friends and family.

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SK8 to ELIMIN8 Cancer on March 8!

Posted by on Friday, February 27th, 2015

Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer Fundraiser

The Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation and Cool Sports, Home of the Icearium, are teaming up for another Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer ice skating fundraiser.   Join in the fun and take to the ice on Sunday, March 8 from 4:00-6:00 p.m., for Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer. This event will take place at Cool Sports, Home of the Icearium, 110 S. Watt Road in West Knoxville.

While it is free to attend, the registration cost to skate is only $10 which includes skate rental.  Many participants are asking friends, family and coworkers to pledge their support for this event which will raise money to fight cancer and support patients, their families, and their caregivers.

Several participants have already secured support for this event through gifts of $10, $100, and even $1,000.  Visit to download the sponsor form to secure pledges or to obtain more event information.  Prize packs will be awarded to participants who raise funds at certain levels.  The 2015 benefits include:

$250 – Team Scott sports bottle

$500 – Team Scott long-sleeve athletic shirt

$1,000 – Team Scott hooded sweatshirt

$2,500 – Team Scott hooded sweatshirt & duffle bag

$5,000 – 10 Tickets to Knoxville Scott Hamilton and Friends on Ice Show & Celebration Dinner on February 20, 2016 (transportation and lodging not provided) OR Team Scott long-sleeve athletic shirt, hooded sweatshirt and duffle bag.

$10,000+ – Exclusive prize package customized by the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation team

There are several ways you can participate in this family-fun event:

  1. Print the pledge form and get started on securing your pledges.  Fundraising is fun!
  2. Come out that day and skate!  Cost to skate is $10 at the door which includes skate rental.
  3. Whether you skate or not, we encourage you to attend this family fun event and encourage others to join you.  The important thing is for everyone to unite to support patients in their fight to survive cancer.

Whether you skate or not, we encourage you to attend this family friendly event.  The important thing is for everyone to unite in our mission to support cancer patients.  If you can’t make it, please consider pledging your support through a donation.  Many Provision and Cool Sports employees, figure skaters, hockey players, and others are securing pledges to raise money to make a difference.

Unfortunately, we are all touched by cancer.  The good news is we can make a difference in supporting patients and their families through the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation.  Whether it is education and wellness programs, funding research, or providing patient assistance, the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation fights cancer because of people investing in its mission.

No rsvp is required to attend on March 8th.  If you have questions, visit or call the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation at 1 (844)-SCOTT84.

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