Upcoming Event: 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.

Friday, September 20th from  930-11a

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

Am I at Risk for Prostate Cancer

Am I at risk for prostate cancer?

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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  It is important to know if you are at risk and if you should get an annual Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) level test.

In Tennessee, as well as the United States, prostate cancer has the second highest new cancer rate overall and is the number one cancer for new cancer types among men.(1)    According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are an estimated 3,110,403 men living with prostate cancer in the US.  Based on their 2014-2016 data, approximately 11.6% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime.  According to SEER, there will be an estimated 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer in 2019 with an estimated 31,620 deaths from prostate cancer.  The five year survival rate for prostate

Prostate cancer is most frequently diagnosed among men aged 65-74 with a median age of 66.  However, 9.2% of new prostate cancer cases are among men under the age of 55.(2)

In addition to age, other factors can increase in the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer including family history, genetic factors, race, lifestyle and dietary habits.

If an immediate family member such as your father or brother have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, then your risk of developing prostate cancer is 2 to 3 times higher than normal.  Your risk increases with each relative that has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Your risk will also increase if two or more close relatives on the same side of the family have been diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 55.(3)

African American men have a higher risk of prostate cancer and are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age and have been found to have a more aggressive tumor.

There have not been any studies to prove that diet and nutrition has any direct correlation with developing prostate cancer.  However, if a male who is overweight is diagnosed with prostate cancer, they are at a greater risk for developing a more aggressive prostate cancer.

While there can be lifestyle and dietary habits that can increase your risk of prostate cancer, there are a few myths that have been rumored to increase your risk of prostate cancer.   Sexual activity level is a non-factor as well as having a vasectomy.  Alcohol is another non-risk factor for prostate cancer.

If you do have any of these risk factors, it is important to have your PSA level checked annually.  If you do have an elevated PSA level, your doctor can provide information on additional testing to confirm your diagnosis.

Source:

(1) Center for Disease Control.  Prostate Cancer Statistics.  https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/statistics/index.htm

(2) National Cancer Institute.  Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.  Cancer Stat Facts:  Prostate Cancer. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/prost.html

(3) Cancer.Net.  Prostate Cancer Statistics.  https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/prostate-cancer/statistics

The Important Role of Dosimetrists in your Proton Therapy Treatment Plan

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It only takes a few minutes for patients to receive their daily proton therapy treatment.  However, for each treatment course there has been hours of prior planning to develop the best treatment plan according to the radiation oncologist’s prescription.  The treatment plan comprises of the exact dose and beams and patient positioning aspects required to deliver the dose to the target volume.

Protons are positively charged particles that have a unique range of penetration into the patient’s body.  This is characterized by the Bragg Peak.  The Bragg Peak occurs at the point where the highest dose of radiation is delivered to the patient’s body.  Dosimetrists use physics software tools to determine how to formulate the proton beam i.e. the beam energy and intensity in order for the Bragg Peak to occur at the site of the tumor.  With protons, there is minimal entrance dose and no exit dose.  The Bragg Peak happens at the tumor because the protons stop which makes proton radiation therapy so precise.

The dosimetry team works closely with the medical physicists and the radiation oncologists to determine the exact physics behind every single proton beam received by patients.  No two treatment plans are the same.  Treatments are completely customized based on the individual’s tumor, body and other factors.

One of the most important goals for our dosimetry team is to find the best treatment plan for every individual patient that minimizes the radiation to healthy tissue and critical organs.  They do this using pencil beam scanning technology, where the beam of radiation, which is just millimeters wide, are controlled in position and depth in order to bypass nearby organs and targeting the tumor directly.  The precision of proton therapy pencil beam scanning in conjunction with the dosimetrists who prepare the best treatment plans ensures that patients receive less radiation outside the target areas and therefore reduces side effects while maintaining their quality of life both during and after treatment.

Provision’s team of Dosimetrists in Knoxville is led by Valerie Coffman who is a board-certified dosimetrist with more than 5 years of experience in proton dosimetry.  Including Valerie, Provision has a team of 4 board certified dosimetrists, two dosimetrists that just finished dosimetry training at provision and two dosimetry interns.  The dosimetry team works in close collaboration with 4 board certified Medical physicists, two residents and one physics assistant.

 

In Nashville, Provision’s team of dosimetrists is led by Joe Simmons who is a board-certified dosimetrist with more than 15 years of experience in proton dosimetry. Including Joe, the Nashville team has 3 board certified dosimetrists and one dosimetry intern working with 3 board certified medical physicists and one physics assistant.

Together, our team of medical dosimetrists and physicists work to ensure that our patients receive the best treatment plans possible based on the prescribe radiation dose from our radiation oncology team.