Provision Cares Foundation Archives - Provision Healthcare

New proton therapy cancer center to open across from Williamson Medical Center

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A cancer treatment center specializing in proton therapy, an increasingly popular treatment, is set to open in the summer of 2018.

Provision Healthcare, a clinical provider and developer of cancer treatments, will open a Provision CARES Cancer Center on Carothers Parkway, across from Williamson Medical Center, said Dr. Terry Douglass, Ph.D., the executive chair of Provision.

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It’s like NASA landed in Franklin: Proton-therapy center nears completion

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After nearly two years of construction, Provision CARES Proton Therapy Nashville is nearing completion of its $100 million cancer-treatment center — minus some areas of the roof.

That’s because crews still need to lower a 28-foot-diameter gantry — a structure about the size of an above-ground pool that rotates around a patient during therapy, allowing treatment from different angles —into place at the 45,000-square-foot facility.
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Eddie Check aims to honor a dad and save lives

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Kevin Kirkland was a high school senior on the football practice field when he learned his father, Eddie, had been diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer. Four years later, his dad died from the disease. Kirkland doesn’t want anyone else to go through that experience.

Eddie Kirkland’s diagnosis was particularly difficult for Kevin because his mother had died a year before from breast cancer. Breast cancer was just gaining the public’s attention, while prostate cancer lurked in the shadows.

“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,” 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.”

More than 30 years later, Eddie Check was born. The program pairs free PSA tests for men with a Medic blood drive. The fi rst event in 2004 had one Medic bus and did 50 PSA tests and collected 50 units of blood. At its beginnings, the initiative was called the Eddie Kirkland Memorial Blood Drive and Free PSA Testing Event Radio talk show host Phil Williams said ‘come get your Eddie Check’ on the air one year and the name stuck. The event is coordinated by Nisus Corp., where Kirkland now serves as president and CEO.

A year later, there was a second event, expanded to a second location. This year, there will be Eddie Check drives in 10 locations throughout eight East Tennessee counties. The initiative involves live radio shows on location with partners including News Talk 98.7, WIVK and WNML and an annual blood drive contest with football fans at the University of Florida. Last year, the program collected 1,200 units of blood with more than 1,000 PSA tests conducted.

“All of a sudden it really started gaining its own strength and its own personality,” Kirkland says. “We’ve had tremendous support from the hospital community over the years. And then when Provision Center for Proton Therapy opened, they became our medical sponsor, and they’ve been an absolutely wonderful advocate and partner. And the Provision CARES Foundation now pays for all of the PSA tests.”

The event allows men, many of whom are hesitant to set up an annual physical exam, to get the PSA test for free while also performing a community service.

“Men don’t really like to go to the doctor, let’s just face it, they don’t,” Kirkland says. “With Eddie Check they can just stop by and get a free PSA test.”

For Kevin Wathen of Maryville, getting a PSA test through Eddie Check revealed what a recent trip to his doctor had not: an elevated PSA level. A follow-up biopsy with a urologist revealed that 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 Eddie Check, 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. Wathen was one of the fi rst to receive hypofractionated proton therapy treatments at the center, a shortened, more intense course that allows therapy duration to be cut in half.

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

Wathen says he would recommend men of all ages taking advantage of the free annual PSA test, at least to establish a baseline for further testing.

“Especially with Eddie Check being available at no charge,” Wathen says. “I’d do it every year.”

As Eddie Check 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. After 11 years of the Eddie Check program, men often approach him to discuss early detection.

“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.”

American Cancer Society awards Provision 2014 Hope Award

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American Cancer Society awards Provision 2014 Hope Award

Cancer Society honors five with Hope Award

Knoxville News Sentinel

By: Mike Blackerby

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hope has been Bonnie Hufford’s resonant theme since she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that attacks the blood and bones. Doctors told Hufford in 2009 that her cancer was already in Stage 3, with 3 being the worst. With few drugs available at the time to treat her cancer, Hufford was given a life expectancy of just two to three years. But hope prevailed as Hufford beat the odds.

Today, Hufford, a day after celebrating her 60th birthday and almost five years since receiving her grim prognosis, is being honored by the Knoxville office of the American Cancer Society as one of five inaugural area recipients of the Hope Award. The luncheon at the Grande Event Center on Clinton Highway will fete Hope Award winners who are involved in various aspects of Cancer Society work, from fundraising and patient support to research and advocacy. Nominations were taken from Cancer Society volunteer leaders in the Knoxville area, and award winners were selected by volunteers from throughout Tennessee.

Hufford, an instructor of journalism and public relations at the University of Tennessee’s College of Communication & Information, is receiving the Mary Lasker Award. Lasker was a pioneer health activist and philanthropist who spearheaded fundraising efforts by the ACS. Hufford is a past winner of the ACS “Volunteer of the Year” award in the state, and has been UT faculty adviser for the Cancer Society’s campus Relay for Life teams for a decade. Under Hufford, UT’s Relay for Life program has raised $630,000. “Bonnie has been an outstanding volunteer for our organization in multiple capacities,” said Scotty Evans, senior representative for community engagement for the Cancer Society. “She is a great all-around volunteer, from her support of the UT Relay For Life to sharing her testimony with others.” Hufford, who recently received great news that her cancer is in remission because of treatment from ground-breaking drugs, said she feels a duty to give back to the cancer community that has supported her. “This award means so much to me because it is coming from the American Cancer Society,” said Hufford. “This isn’t a journey anybody can do alone. If you don’t have friends and family behind you, I don’t know how you can make it.”

Other Hope Award winners are Bronzie Harris, Outstanding Community Outreach; Janine Bateson, Outstanding Community Research Development; Janine Mingie, Outstanding Health Care Professional; and Provision CARES Foundation, Outstanding Corporate Leadership.