Dale Clayton first heard about Provision CARES Proton Therapy through a TV commercial. Not knowing he had cancer, he tucked the words “proton therapy” in the back of his mind, hoping that he would never have to remember them. It was February 2015 when Mr. Clayton learned he had prostate cancer. Dale had always been proactive when it came to his health. He said, “my mom always taught me to be proactive.” He went in for regular checkups, yearly physicals, and was well aware of his PSA and gleason score. At his appointment in 2015, all test scores came back normal, but he insisted on a biopsy, just to be sure. Both the doctor and Clayton were shocked, his biopsy came back positive. Dale was diagnosed with low risk, non-aggressive prostate cancer and decided on active surveillance.
Two and a half years later, things started to change. His PSA remained normal but his biopsy showed the cancer had doubled in size. “It’s a miracle we found it,” said Clayton, “I believe God placed the right doctors, urologists, and friends around me to help me make an informed treatment decision.” He researched prostate cancer and treatment options, from surgery to brachytherapy to protons, and there were two things that were very significant to his treatment decision process:
- Cure Rate
- Quality of Life
With a current career in the public eye, Dale claimed, “proton was the obvious decision.” He had heard the horror stories of side-effects with other treatment options and with his career and current lifestyle, he didn’t want to recover for weeks at a time. He was determined to continue to travel and “coach” both athletes and coaches.
In May of 2010, Mr. Clayton retired as head basketball coach at Carson-Newman college. A few years later, he moved on to serve as the Vice President of Coaches Ministry with Nations of Coaches, an organization to “provide values-based leadership coaching to college basketball teams and coaches”, where he spends the majority of his time. His goal in this “ministry” is to teach coaches how to motivate and inspire the heart of players and to help coaches understand the influence they have on their athletes. Clayton said, “It’s more than just winning or achieving fame.”
“Provision has been a place not just for treatment, but a place to encourage others who are having treatment. I’ve been given the opportunity to be an encourager to others.” With a laugh he said, “it has, also, been a learning and humbling experience.”
There was no question faith was a major part of Dale’s decision to choose treatment at Provision CARES Proton Therapy, including details such as the lodging accommodations. While Mr. Clayton had worked with Provision’s hospitality staff, other plans were being laid out for him instead. Through a friend in the Knoxville area, he made arrangements to stay at a local church missionary house. Even with his normal travel schedules, it was still hard to be away from his wife and grandkids. He found comfort in the warm and welcoming culture Provision offers. Dale is eager to become an active Provision Proton Ambassador. He currently lives in the Nashville area and hopes to educate others on proton therapy by sharing his experience.
Dale has wise words of advice for other cancer patients: “As you consider all your treatment options, proton therapy should be included. Schedule a consult and sit down, listen, learn, and watch before making a final decision. You cannot undo a treatment decision.”