Mason Strong:  One teenage boys fight against pediatric brain cancer brings together an entire community.

No parent wants to hear that their child has cancer.  Unfortunately, those were the words Ginger and Richard Cobble, parents of son Mason Cobble, 16, heard on Tuesday February 26, 2019.  Mason is a sophomore at Walker Valley High School in Cleveland, TN and an overall healthy child.  On Friday morning, February 22nd of 2019, Mason had a seizure and was later diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme GBM, a rare brain cancer in children.  He immediately had surgery to remove the tumor followed by proton therapy radiation at Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville.

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that can be used in conjunction with pencil beam scanning technology.  The combination allows radiation oncologists to precisely target the tumor, minimizing the dose of radiation received to nearby healthy tissues and organs.  Because children and adolescents are growing, their tissue is more sensitive to radiation and its potential for negative side effects. The American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) ranks using proton therapy to treat solid tumors in pediatric patients with the highest importance (ASTRO Model Policy, 2014).  For Brain tumors, proton therapy can minimize negative side effects that include developmental delays, hearing loss, damage to salivary glands and hormone deficiencies.

A recent study presented at the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology Congress  (ESTRO) compared three types of radiotherapy for pediatric brain tumors and found that in pediatric brain tumors, pencil beam scanning proton therapy consistently delivered the lowest amount of radiation to the hippocampus and temporal lobes, areas of the brain that are vital for memory function.  Laura Toussaint, a PhD student in the Department of Medical Physics, presented the study and said, “alongside surgery and chemotherapy, radiotherapy plays an important role in treating brain tumors in children, but we need to protect children’s developing brains from unnecessary radiation.  The more we learn about how to effectively target brain tumors while minimizing the dose to other parts of the brain, the better we can preserve children’s cognitive abilities and quality of life after treatment.”

After seeking the opinion of several medical professionals, Mason Cobble started proton therapy treatment at Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville.  In a post on the Team Mason Strong Facebook page, Mason’s mom Ginger Cobble said, “It is such a blessing that Provision Proton Radiation Therapy is in Knoxville.  So thankful we get to treatment so close to home.”  The Chattanooga and Cleveland Tennessee community has pulled together to support Mason in his fight against cancer.  His story has been featured in the Cleveland Banner, on News Channel 9, on area radio stations and other media outlets.

On Wednesday May 8, 2019 Mason rang the bell as he graduated from his treatment at Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville.  He still has a fight ahead of him with more chemotherapy treatments and participation in a clinical trial at Duke, but the staff at Provision is thankful for him and are #TEAMMASONSTRONG.

Celebrating Nurses Week 2019

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Content and information were written in conjunction with Lindsay Chandler, RN, BSN, OCN Nursing Manager for Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville

May 6th-12th is a week of excellence for every nurse, and marks a time to acknowledge accomplishments, compassionate patient care and professionalism for the nursing society. The conclusion of Nurses Week is May 12th, in honor of the mother of nursing, Florence Nightingale. Florence Nightingale was born on May 12th, 1820, and she was the innovator of modern nursing. It was through her teaching, compassion, leadership and influence, that the world of nursing has evolved into what it is today.

2019 itself is a hallmark celebration for the nursing community. There are over 4 million Registered Nurses in the United States of America, and registered nurses comprise the largest group in healthcare! The American Nurses Association created the tagline for this year’s National Nurses Week is “4 Million Reasons to Celebrate” which is a nod to nurses’ sheer numbers and an open invitation to #ThankaNurse for enriching our lives and the world we live in.

May is also Oncology Nurse Month.  As a cancer treatment facility featuring proton therapy, Provision CARES Proton Therapy Centers would also like to take a moment to highlight the role of the Oncology Nurse.  Oncology Nurses care for people of all ages who are diagnosed with cancer.  Oncology nurses provide support not only to patients, but their caregivers and families  during an especially stressful time in their lives.  An Oncology Nurse can gain knowledge through professional development and complete an examination to become an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN). This certification signifies that a nurse has the knowledge and proficiency to care for patients with the diagnosis of cancer and marks a level of high achievement in the Oncology community.

Please join us in recognizing all the compassion and dedication our amazing nursing team provides at Provision Cares Proton Therapy Center.  Our nursing team is responsible for documenting detailed health assessments for patients newly diagnosed with cancer, providing patient education founded on evidence-based practice, providing recommendations for screenings and follow up suggestions for abnormal values to ensure early intervention, administering medications, assisting in procedures, utilizing assessment skills and critical thinking to triage and identify acute or emergent conditions, participate in interdisciplinary team rounds to provide the highest quality of patient care.

Provision would like to acknowledge nurses throughout our country and how they influence and inspire as they practice their art of healing. Happy Nurses Week 2019!

 

Prostate Cancer 101: Understanding the Journey Diagnosis, Treatment, and Survival

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Join us for a free presentation to learn more about the latest developments in prostate cancer. Dr. Wilkinson will discuss the most advanced diagnostic tools and current trends in treatment including multiparametric MRI, genomic classification, when to use active surveillance, and how to preserve quality of life after a prostate diagnosis.

Thursday, May 9th at 6:30pm or Friday, May 17th at 9:30am

Hosted by: Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville, 6450 Provision CARES Way, Knoxville, TN 37909

RSVP: To reserve your seat, please RSVP to Jenni Turner at 865.321.4539 or jenni.turner@provisionhp.com

Provision Team Members Participate in the National Association of Proton Therapy Convention

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The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) held its seventh annual proton conference March 24-27, 2019, at The Biltmore Miami – Coral Gables, in Miami, Florida.  Founded in 1990, the National Association for Proton Therapy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to work collaboratively to: (i) raise awareness of the therapeutic benefits of proton therapy among patients, providers, payers, policymakers, and other stakeholders, (ii) ensure patient choice and access to affordable proton therapy, and (iii) encourage cooperative research and innovation to advance the appropriate and cost-effective utilization of proton therapy. The annual conference allows proton centers from across the Unites States to convene and discuss how to advance awareness of the clinical benefits of proton therapy for cancer patients, provide education, and advocate for insurance coverage.

This year, almost 300 physicians, nurses, therapists, proton therapy directors, managers and others involved with or interested in learning more about the cutting-edge therapy attended the conference.  The 2019 program covered a variety of interesting and informative topics including: pediatrics, marketing, legislation, insurance and appeals, and clinical updates. Keynote speaker Barbara L. McAneny, MD, President of the American Medical Association, Anne Hubbard, Director of Health Policy for the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and guest speaker Senator Marco Rubio, all described the important role and impact of proton therapy in cancer care and the medical field at large from perspectives beyond those of proton providers. It was encouraging to hear proton therapy is gaining powerful advocacy and allies in positions within the medical field as well as in the upper levels of government.

Provision entities were represented by twelve attendees. Provision representatives participated as presenters and facilitators for several of the conference breakout sessions. Rebecca Bergeron, Dr. Ben Wilkinson, Jenni Turner, Elizabeth Vanzo, Nancy Howard, Niek Schroeder, and Laddie Derenchuk were all members of panel discussions and gave presentations on topics ranging from legislation and technical developments, to clinical best practices, patient interactions, and collaboration. This level of participation by Provision representatives further demonstrates Provision’s place as an industry leader.

In addition to the presentations, discussions, and panels, George Laramore, MD, PhD, FACR, FASTRO, of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy Center and the University of Washington, was awarded the 2019 NAPT Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his decades of pioneering work in the field of particle therapy. In announcing the award, NAPT Executive Director, Scott Warwick, stated “Dr. Laramore has brought honor and distinction to the field of particle therapy and we are grateful for the opportunity to award him for his endless dedication and perseverance to serve cancer patients across the country and the world.”

The NAPT announced that the 2020 National Proton Therapy Conference will be held April 25-29 in Nashville, TN at The Renaissance Hotel. Provision CARES Proton Therapy Nashville will host a Reception and Tour April 27th.  Nancy Howard, Vice President Marketing & Public Relations of Provision Solutions, will act as the 2020 Conference Chair.

The National Association for Proton Therapy is the voice for the proton community. As there are now 31 Proton centers in operation and 35 centers under construction or in development, it is important for all proton centers to form a strong alliance to advocate for patient access to proton therapy.   NAPT is the vehicle that will lead our alliance forward.

National Doctors’ Day: Meet The Doctors of Provision CARES Proton Therapy Centers

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In honor of National Doctors’ Day this Saturday, March 30, Provision would like to take a moment to honor and celebrate the excellent care that our physicians provide. This annual event was first recognized in 1933 on the anniversary of the first time general anesthesia was used in surgery and became an official national holiday in 1990.

In Knoxville, we celebrate three doctors providing advance cancer treatment to our patients.

Dr. Ben Wilkinson, MD is a Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director for Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville.  Dr. Wilkinson joined Provision from Willis-Knighton Cancer and Proton Therapy Center in Louisiana.  During his time in Louisiana, he served as an assistant professor of radiation oncology for LSU School of Medicine where he taught medical students, residents and fellows. He has also authored or co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts, review articles, and book chapters. Dr. Wilkinson is committed to community outreach and was named a More Than Pink Hero by the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  He is a board member for Radiating Hope, a non-profit that provides radiation treatment equipment to developing countries including Panama, Senegal, and Nepal.

Dr. Allen Meek, MD is also a Radiation Oncologist as well as Medical Director of Provision Medical Group.  Dr. Allen Meek comes to Knoxville from Long Island, New York where he was the Founding Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stony Brook University Medical School and a Professor for over 28 years.  While in New York, Dr. Meek received numerous awards, including Top Doctors in New York and Best Doctors in the USA, along with awards for Humanitarianism and Environmental Stewardship. Also, he was just recently recognized as a 2012 U.S. News and World Report Top Doctor and one of the Best Doctors in America® for 2014.

Dr. Robert Lavey, MD, M.P.H is a Radiation Oncologist for Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville.  Dr. Lavey has been board-certified in Radiation Oncology since 1988.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and earned his Doctorate in Medicine from Stanford University. He completed his residency in radiation oncology at Duke University and was awarded National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Stanford University Department of Medicine and the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.  Dr. Lavey has advanced the treatment of cancer as the Principal Investigator or Radiation Oncology Coordinator of 15 internationally conducted clinical trials sponsored by the United States National Cancer Institute (NCI).  He held leadership roles in three NCI-funded international cooperative clinical trial groups.  He has written 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles in medical journals and 24 chapters in oncology textbooks.

In Nashville, we celebrate our two doctors providing proton therapy cancer treatment to our patients.

Dr James R. Gray, MD, FACRO is the Medical Director for Provision CARES Proton Therapy Nashville.  Dr. Gray studied biomedical engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, graduating with highest honors. He then studied medicine at Vanderbilt University on a scholarship with the US Navy. After discovering his fascination with oncology and radiation therapy, he trained in radiation oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and was the recipient of a Clinical Oncology Fellowship from the American Cancer Society. He has also initiated and been involved in local and multi-institutional clinical trials, and has authored or co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters and abstracts, including presentations at national meetings. He has been active in the American Cancer Society at the regional level and has been recognized with the local John C. Tune Award and the St. George National Award.

Dr. James Zhu, MD PhD is a Radiation Oncologist at Provision CARES Proton Therapy Nashville.  Dr. Zhu majored in electrical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, and then finished his PhD in biomedical engineering. Dr. Zhu received his medical education at the University of California in San Diego. During his residency in radiation oncology at the University of Florida, Dr. Zhu went through rigorous training to use proton therapy as an integral part of the residency curriculum. As an established researcher, his work has been published in multiple peer-reviewed medical and engineering journals and presented at many national and international conferences. He was a chief resident and honored with the Radiological Society of North America (RNSA) Roentgen Resident Research Award.

Proton Therapy can treat multiple types of cancers including prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer and many other solid-tumor based cancers.  Our physicians not only offer high quality diagnostic and treatment services, they are advancing cancer care through commitment to research, multidisciplinary collaboration, and community outreach.  To all our doctors, thank you for all you do for our patients and our community!

 

Provision CARES Celebrates Social Work Appreciation Month: Meet Marriah Mabe

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March is Social Work Appreciation Month and this year’s theme is ELEVATE SOCIAL WORK.

Each day, nearly 700,000 social workers nationwide work to elevate and empower others, giving them the ability to solve life’s problems, cope with personal roadblocks, and get the services they need.

Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville has one of the best in the field, Marriah Mabe.  Marriah joined Provision in July 2017, and she has already accomplished a lot since that time.  Marriah was instrumental in starting the Provision CARES Proton Therapy Ethics Committee.  She has developed a library of patient literature and a database of financial and community support resources for cancer patients.  Marriah has led several staff education, support, and appreciation initiatives.  She currently oversees several programs, including the Art Therapy Program, and serves as chair of the Provision CARES Ethics Committee and leads the Pediatric Program Committee.

In Marriah’s daily work, she assesses cancer patients for depression and anxiety and offers preliminary counseling and referral for advanced mental health services as needed.  Often, we forget that the costs of cancer care go beyond financing of treatment; people facing cancer are also facing lost time from work on top of additional co-pays for medications and appointments.  Marriah helps connect patients to financial assistance resources for food, medication, lodging, and transportation.

We appreciate and recognize Marriah as well as all social workers for the jobs they serve in helping others.

Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville Announces New President Carl Koella

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For Immediate Release:

Knoxville, Tennessee (February 4, 2019) – Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville, a member of the Provision CARES Cancer Network, announces that Carl Koella III has been named President, effective February 4, 2019.

Mr. Koella has served on the Board of Directors of Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville since 2015, and in his new role as President, he will oversee the management, operations, and clinical services for both Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville and Provision Radiation Therapy at the Dowell Springs campus in Knoxville. “It will be a privilege to advance the access of proton therapy to cancer patients in the East Tennessee region,” says Koella.

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Experts Agree: Proton Therapy is an Excellent Choice for Treating Pediatric Cancers

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The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the world’s premier organization in Radiation Oncology, states that “solid tumors in children are considered among the highest priority for proton therapy”in its Model Policy.  Based on this prioritization, a group of 24 internationally recognized leaders in the various specialties in oncology, convened in 2015 to define proton therapy’s role in pediatric cancers, identify which cases yield the most benefit from a limited resource, and set priorities for future development in the field.

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Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville Welcomes Radiation Oncologist Dr. Lavey

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Ben Wilkinson, MD, Medical Director of Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville welcomes Robert S. Lavey, M.D., M.P.H. to the Provision CARES team.

Dr. Lavey has been board-certified in Radiation Oncology since 1988.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and earned his Doctorate in Medicine from Stanford University. He completed his residency in radiation oncology at Duke University and was awarded National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Stanford University Department of Medicine and the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

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