Provision Center for Proton Therapy patient Wayne Mason may have come for cancer treatment, but weeks spent in Knoxville also gave him an opportunity to see the local sights! And he was impressed. Here’s his must-do list of local activities in and around Knoxville and beyond!
Neyland Stadium tour—Great for college football fans! $8. Phillip Fulmer Way. (865)974-1205. Reservation required
James White Fort—Awesome historical tour of the homestead of Knoxville’s founder. The frontier sitting in the middle of downtown (beside the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame). 205 Hill Avenue Southeast. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (865) 525-6514.
At 9:45 pm, when only the guard keeps watch over the empty lobby and a few therapists tie up loose ends at the end of a long day, they arrive—mostly young, jeans-clad, ready to do the behind-the-scenes, after-hours work that keeps Provision treating cancer patients.
Tonight’s four-man night crew is among 12 total IBA employees responsible for the treatment gantries, cyclotron, and larger proton therapy system—manufactured by Belgium-based IBA—that make proton therapy possible. They work in three shifts, starting at 5:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 10:00 p.m., rotating crews every three weeks. They are little seen behind the closed doors of their control room and in the bowels of the facility’s equipment rooms, but the team is crucial to ensuring patients receive treatment on time and at the correct dose.
Tonight’s night shift is made up of Jake Storey, operator technician; Micah Veilleux, software systems engineer; Jeremy Cheatham, beam physicist; and Troy Brown, systems engineer specializing in robotics.
On this particular evening, Veilleux has preparations for a software system upgrade on his to-do list, while Storey reviews scheduled maintenance tasks such as blowing dust out of the control units, greasing hinges and checking or recalibrating various pieces of equipment.
The big job at hand, though, is dealing with recent challenges presented by IBA’s decision to change out the deflector in the cyclotron. The component, which helps channel protons to the patient target, was acting up at some other IBA sites, so the company chose to upgrade the part in all of its machines. That has resulted in a shutdown and a significant problem to solve in the coming hours.
Young and old. Homemakers. Students. Business owners. Musicians. Factory workers. Teachers. Pilots. Engineers. Doctors. From all over the country. All over the world.
Cancer, the great equalizer.
But at Provision, we don’t celebrate cancer. We celebrate life.
Meet Emma, whose journey brought her from China to a new family in Kentucky. Meet Patty, a make-up artist who frequents local TV sets and is on a first-name basis with Peyton Manning. Meet Mary, whose proton therapy treatment allowed her to easily resume her active life as an antique finisher and volunteer. Meet James, who claims martial arts, the military and music in equal measure. Meet Ryan, who’s bravely fighting a brain tumor with quiet grace and humor. Meet Walt, who faced cancer like any other adventure in life—from flying helicopters to ice hockey to road biking.
Not cases. Not charts. Not charge numbers. What we treat at Provision are people.
ProtonStories.com tells their stories. Check it out today—and there’s much more to come.
Proton therapy is in growth mode worldwide because of the rise in cancer and protons’ effectiveness in treating it.
Today there are 15 proton therapy centers in the U.S. and 57 centers worldwide with 141 total treatment rooms. By 2018, based on current plans, there will be 119 proton therapy centers around the world.
By 2019, the proton therapy market is expected to reach the $1 billion mark.
In 2012, approximately 14 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed, and there were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths. That number is expected to increase by 70 percent in the next 20 years, according to the World Health Organization.
Radiation therapy is effective in destroying most cancers but can result in serious side effects and long-term health issues due to the healthy tissue it also affects. Unlike conventional radiation, proton therapy provides a carefully timed and controlled dose of radiation directly to the tumor. This significantly reduces the levels of radiation exposure to surrounding tissue, sparing key organs and resulting in many fewer side effects—both during treatment and long-term—and less risk of secondary cancer due to radiation damage.
By 2030, the world market for proton therapy is expected to be between $3.5 billion and $6.6 billion and an anticipated 300,000-600,000 patients will receive treatment, the report said.
As a relatively new treatment modality, proton therapy’s growth has progressed slowly since the first U.S. center was opened in 1990. The equipment needed to generate and deliver protons for treatment has, historically, been expensive and cumbersome to transport and install. Although Medicare allows proton therapy for many cancer indications, many private insurers do not. And recent decades have been spent gathering data to support protons’ efficacy in treating most types of cancers.
A new generation of smaller, lighter proton therapy equipment—such as a system now in development at ProNova Solutions, Provision Healthcare’s sister company—along with improved efficiency and the ability to deliver therapy in less individual treatments will reduce the cost of proton therapy and make it more available to patients.
Additionally, mounting evidence of proton therapy’s effectiveness in curing most types of cancer and improving quality of life for cancer patients has resulted in helping the technology finally come into its own, according to MEDraysintell.
For example, one report from the nation’s oldest proton therapy center has shown that less than 1 percent of men treated with proton therapy for prostate cancer suffered from major rectal and urinary side effects.
“The absence of such risks associated with other radiation treatments or surgery is a major driving factor driving the demand for proton therapy among patients,” state another marketplace report focused on proton therapy, recently released by Kuick Research.
More proton therapy centers, in turn, will result in more clinical research, better clinician understanding and greater patient awareness of its benefits—which will only help encourage further growth.
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.
Tennessee has made its mark on the nation’s cancer map, and it’s not a pretty picture.
The state is among a handful (all in the South) that rank higher, or lower, than the rest of the country when it comes to leading risk factors for the disease, according to a recent report of the American Cancer Society (data illustrated by National Public Radio.) An estimated 1.6 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year, according to ACS.
Tennessee leads the nation in rates of obesity and smoking, while trailing in measures that reduce the risk of cancer including exercise and eating healthy foods.
Here are how the statistics break down for the state:
• 24.3% are smokers
• 33.7% are obese
• 37.2% don’t exercise regularly
• 17.6% eat fruit twice daily
• 11.2% eat three vegetables daily
Compare this with Vermont, for example, in which 16.6 percent of the population smokes, 24.7 percent are obese, and just 20.5 percent don’t exercise or California where nearly one-quarter of the population eats the recommended services of vegetables and nearly 40 percent the recommended servings of fruit. (Truth is, there’s room for improvement across the country.)
In addition, many Americans fail to get recommended screenings for common cancer types. In Tennessee, just 56.5 percent of women over the age of 40 had a mammogram in the past year. And only 66.4 percent of both men and women had been tested for colorectal cancer. These screenings often result in early detection of cancer, which increases chances of survival.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to stay this way. Changing lifestyle habits such as adding daily exercise and smoking cessation increases your odds against cancer as well as other lifestyle-related diseases. Find out how to take first steps toward decreasing your cancer risk.
James Fulghum’s completion of prostate cancer treatment today was a celebration not only for him but for Provision Center for Proton Therapy as well—the graduation of its 400th patient.
A surprised grin crossed Fulghum’s face as he was presented him with a special certificate before he rang the graduation bell.
The event marks a “huge milestone” for Provision. The center opened last January and celebrated its 100th patient graduation just eight months ago. Since then, Provision Center for Proton Therapy has opened a third treatment room and seen its patient numbers increase significantly in 2015.
Fulghum, who came for treatment for aggressive prostate cancer from his home in Lebanon, Tenn., learned of proton therapy through his nephew. Founder and principal at civil engineering firm, Fulghum, MacIndoe & Associates, Billy Fulghum worked with Provision in its early days as the company made site design plans for the new treatment facility.
When his uncle was diagnosed with cancer, Billy Fulghum approached him about considering proton therapy as a treatment option.
“The first thing he said was, ‘I’m not going to the Bahamas to do some experimental thing,’” Billy Fulghum said.
But after perusing the Provision website and meeting with Dr. Marcio Fagundes and staff at Provision, James Fulghum was sold.
“(Dr. Fagundes has) been in this business for many years. He’s seen a lot of things,” Fulghum said. “He laid it out in simple terms that I could understand.”
At the end of eight weeks in Knoxville golfing, visiting the mountains, making friends with other patients—two of whom attended his graduation—and experiencing the hospitality and warmth of the Provision employees—from radiation therapists to hospitality coordinators to financial services manager Rhonda Turner—James Fulghum said he’s sad to go.
“I feel like when I walked through the front door this was heaven and these people were angels,” he said. “Even though I’m number 400, I’m not a number in this place.”