Letter to the Editor – Knoxville Lucky to have Proton Therapy


Letter to the Editor
June 16, 2015

Knoxville lucky to have proton therapy

The Provision Center for Proton Therapy at Dowell Springs off Middlebrook Pike is a feather in our collective cap. We should be aware of what an honor it is to have one of the 14 such centers operating in the nation. I understand that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is changing to proton therapy for its patients. In this day of Internet research, we can easily educate ourselves and be our own advocates when faced with decisions about treatment. In our case, proton treatment for a tumor was met with some resistance, but we persisted. We are fortunate that we did.

Our family physician recommended we obtain a second opinion from the radiation oncologists at Provision. Knoxville’s proton therapy center was not ready, so we traveled to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Our experience was gratifying and successful. Two and a half months of pinpoint radiation in small, daily doses produced no rash, no burns and no discomfort. The tumor was dissolved. We observed the same comfort level in the hundreds of patients we came to know. We are hopeful that legislation before the Tennessee House will be approved so insurance companies will be mandated to help with proton therapy. It is a shame that our neighboring states already have such mandates and we do not. It is helpful to know that the centers will provide help with travel plans, financial issues and housing. I personally have nothing to gain from promoting our local facility. There is just a warm place in my heart because our community was chosen for this type of treatment.

Mary Helen Jost,