Provision dosimetrist ranks with best in planning contest

Posted by on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

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When his boss sent out an email encouraging those in the Provision medical physics department to participate in an international treatment planning competition, Kevin Kirby decided to give it a shot.

Sponsored by ProKnow, a radiation analytics and quality assurance company, the assignment of creating a radiation treatment plan for a head and neck cancer case attracted more than 200 entries.

In the final results, Kirby’s entry ranked 21st among 238 treatment plans, and first among proton therapy entries.

“A perfect score was 150,” said Kirby, a medical dosimetrist at Provision Proton Therapy Center. “I got 144.” The top score was 146.9.

He is the second Provision employee to place high in the ProKnow competition, known as the QADS Plan Study. Samantha Hedrick, a medical physicist, achieved third place out of 124 entries in 2013.

ProKnow develops and sells software to “help improve the standard of care in radiation oncology” through analytical tools and databases that help customers measure and track their planning efforts with a goal of identifying best practices for treating a variety of diseases.

The plan Kirby submitted was scored on a scale of 20+ criteria categories, with the ultimate goal of providing the most dose to the tumor versus the least dose to the surrounding, healthy parts of the body.

Kirby credited his treatment modality, proton therapy, with giving him an edge over competitors using conventional radiation treatment methods.

Proton therapy is particularly suited to treatment of head and neck cancer, because “you are dealing with some very critically sensitive areas to radiation, such as the spine and brain,” Kirby said. “Proton therapy is just one of the top ways to treat one of the most difficult areas to get to in the body.”

“Kevin is an outstanding dosimetrist.  Along with the rest of our staff, Kevin’s knowledge and work ethic has kept Provision’s planning capabilities at the forefront of radiation therapy,” said Ben Robison, Provision director of medical physics.

Kirby’s high score got him a phone interview with ProKnow in which he was asked about his personal background and more details about his planning methods. ProKnow is making the interview available via its website. Ranking so high among other treatment plans is quantitative validation that proton therapy and, specifically, the medical care at Provision, is best-in-class, he said.

“There’s a lot of hyperbole,” Kirby said. “This is a blind, metric product that shows our treatment is one of the best in the world. It just validates what we’re doing here.”

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Movement, nourishment more important as you age

Posted by on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Healthy-Aging---Part-1

Aging is a fact of life. So let’s talk about how to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible, making the most of our years. “Age is just a number.” On our Tanita scale it gives us a health age. It is very encouraging when that’s younger than our chronological age. However, it doesn’t take our blood pressure or cholesterol or stress level or sleep habits or lifestyle into account. It does, in fact, consider your weight, your percent of body fat, and your waist circumference. Now is a wonderful time to consider how your lifestyle can help improve your chronological age and improve your future.

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Proton Therapy Making Positive Waves in Medical Industry

Posted by on Friday, February 17th, 2017

proton treatmentProton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses a single beam of high-energy protons to treat various forms of cancer. Just as with conventional radiation therapy, protons treat tumors by directing radiation into the tumor site where doses of radiation destroy cancerous cells.

Patients can receive proton therapy alone, or it can be combined with other cancer treatment modalities such as surgery or chemotherapy. Proton therapy typically begins four to six weeks after chemotherapy and is usually given over a period of six weeks. The benefits of proton therapy treatments include increased quality of life, decreased side effects both during and after treatment, and minimizing damage to healthy tissues and surrounding organs. During the past five years, proton therapy has become more accessible and has been making positive waves in the medical industry.

According to UC Health News, a Kentucky resident is doing much better after successful proton treatments.

Troy Witt visited an optometrist to see about his watery eye and found out that he had a brain tumor the size of a fist. After undergoing three surgeries, a remaining piece of tumor was found, along with other small cancerous spots surrounding the area, which made him a candidate for proton treatment.

The 65-year-old Witt was one of the first people ever to be treated at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center/UC Health Proton Therapy Center (one of only 25 in the country).

“I’m just looking forward to being pure old me again,” Witt added. “Playing Frisbee with my dog, spending my time with my little wife of 50 years (Brenda), planting a garden in the spring.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has used proton therapy to treat 150 kids who have tumors in the brain, bone, and soft tissue.

According to The Commercial Appeal, since receiving its first patient in November 2015, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is worth $60 million and is the first proton therapy facility dedicated solely to assisting children in the world.

“Everything we do at the proton therapy center is image-guided, said Andrew Saunders, radiation therapist. “We’re able to spare all this healthy tissue around the tumor.”

Breast cancer specialists are finding proton therapy beneficial for left-sided breast cancer because it minimizes radiation exposure to the heart and lungs. Studies have shown women who receive traditional radiation therapy for left-sided breast cancer often end up with heart disease several years later. Men are increasingly choosing proton therapy for prostate cancer instead of surgery or other treatments to preserve sexual function and reduce radiation damage to healthy surrounding tissue.

Proton therapy for brain cancer treatment is considered the gold standard, especially in pediatric patients, because it spares damage to the surrounding health brain tissue, particularly important for the still-developing child.  If you want to learn more about proton therapy for cancer, contact Provision Proton Therapy Center today!

 

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Proton therapy helps prevent heart disease

Posted by on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

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If you ‘heart’ your ‘heart,’ a growing number of studies demonstrate that treating cancer with protons helps reduce the risk of heart disease due to radiation exposure. This is especially important for breast cancer patients, whose cardiovascular systems can suffer from conventional radiation spilling over into the heart and lungs.

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Remembering the world’s cancer victims and survivors

Posted by on Friday, February 3rd, 2017

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This is an edited version of a message Provision Center for Proton Therapy President Tom Welch sent to our patient Ambassadors, those who have come to Provision for treatment and help to spread the word about proton therapy, in recognition of World Cancer Day.

Today is World Cancer Day. People across the world will be remembering loved ones, supporting friends and family who have been diagnosed with cancer, and celebrating those who are now cancer free. At Provision Proton Therapy Center, we recognize the significance of this day and wanted to share in the celebration.

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East Tennessee plays role in atoms for war, for peace

Posted by on Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Blog - WWII to PTherapy 02-02-17[1]

Back when the country’s great minds of science were cloistered in secret laboratories, manipulating the power of atoms into a weapon that would stop the world’s second great war, they were also dreaming of a time when such knowledge would be used for peace.

That work, carried on a few ridges and valleys away from Provision Center for Proton Therapy, now touches the lives of each patient who comes here for cancer treatment.

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