Provision looks back on 2016

Look back at 2016, ahead to the future

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The year 2016 has been a year of significant progress for Provision, and one that will enable us to aggressively pursue our “mission of developing innovative healthcare solutions focused on improving patient care and clinical outcomes and developing support for research, education and charitable causes.” This year has also been a year which tested our commitment, courage and resolve—and we passed the test.

Here is a summary of some of our key developments… (more…)

Provision heads to ASTRO

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At the premiere conference for radiation oncology, Provision will unveil plans and a progress report for expansion and release results of a patient survey that confirms proton therapy’s benefit for cancer patients.

The annual meeting for the American Society for Radiation Oncology, or ASTRO, begins Sunday in Boston. The conference attracts more than 10,000 attendees from the radiation oncology community—from physicians to instrument makers. Provision Healthcare is an event sponsor and be at the trade show – Booth #12091. (more…)

Throat cancer patient high on proton therapy

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When Terry Vinson first felt a small grown the size of a pinkie fingertip on his neck, he dismissed it as a harmless cyst.

Even two weeks later, when it had doubled into the size of a thumb and then doubled again the following week, he had not yet sought medical help.

“I’m in medical sales,” Vinson says. “I should have known better.” (more…)

Scott Hamilton friend Wylie skates for cancer

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This is an edited version of an article originally published in the Halls Shopper.

Paul Wylie has known Scott Hamilton since he was 10-years-old, and while the enduring friendship may not be surprising, Wylie’s a little amazed the two are still strapping on skates to perform together.

“We have longevity—I don’t think I would have thought of that as a child,” says Wylie. “It is a lifelong sport now.”

Wylie will join Hamilton and an impressive list of figure skating champions at 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum for “Scott Hamilton and Friends on Ice.” The event will raise money for the Provision CARES and Scott Hamilton CARES Foundations, which fund cancer research and supports cancer patients and their families. The event also will include noted skaters Katia Gordeeva, pairs gold medalist with late husband Sergei Grinkov in the 1988 and 1994 Olympics; 2014 Olympic medalist Jeremy Abbott; world champion figure skaters Yuka Sato and Steven Cousins; U.S. national figure skating champions Alissa Czisny, Ryan Bradley, Michael Weiss; ice dancing champions Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre; 1990s British National Champion Steven Cousins and ice dancing siblings Sinead Kerr and John Kerr.

The skaters will be performing to the live music of Michael W. Smith, acclaimed singer, songwriter and musician who has sold more than 15 million albums, achieved 28 No. 1 songs. Smith has earned three GRAMMY® Awards, one American Music Award, and more than 40 Dove Awards. He was recently honored, with Amy Grant, by ASCAP as “a cornerstone of Christian music” and in 2014 received recognition as “Philanthropist of the Year” by the Nashville Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

This is Smith’s first appearance at the Knoxville event but the for Wylie. Both his father and mother are cancer survivors, and he watched Hamilton go through his own bout with testicular cancer and subsequent brain tumors. He has toured the Provision Center for Proton Therapy and says he considers himself an advocate for the cancer treatment.

“I’ve been doing benefits for cancer research since I was a teenager,” he says. “Cancer is absolutely something I had close by.”

Although he has never had cancer himself, within the past year, Wylie experienced his own brush with a life-threatening illness. One morning during a workout with friends, he collapsed, and his heart stopped beating. Two men took turns doing CPR until first responders and rushed him to the hospital. After two days in an induced coma, Wylie woke up and learned he had been the victim of a cardiac arrest. After a battery of tests in which doctors could not determine the cause, he received an ICD—which functions both as a defibrillator and pacemaker—and set on the road to recovery.

He kept skating and says the experience gave him a new appreciation for life.

“I think when you have experienced closeness to death, it tends to put things in perspective, and you realize how fragile lives are,” he says.

After decades on the ice, Wylie says he still loves to perform, something that’s kept him doing shows like Scott Hamilton and Friends On Ice far past he retirement as, first, an amateur and then professional figure skater. He burst onto the world scene as a relative unknown at the 1992 Olympic Games, reaping a silver medal and launching a highly successful professional career. He also toured with Stars on Ice and has served as a television commentator.

“For me, the music and performing have really always been front and center,” he says. “That’s where I derive the pleasure of skating. The way the edge feels against, it’s a lovely feeling, a very free feeling.”

And, for the record, he’s still landing those double jumps.

The nice thing about events like “Scott Hamilton and Friends,” Wylie says, is it give skaters a chance to truly enjoy themselves and put on a show—with the unique aspect of performing to live music.

“There will be great skating, great music and it’s a great cause,” he says. “We’re there to entertain the audience. There’s just something about it, where the artists and the athletes work together to create something entertaining. It’s going to be a great show.”

 

 

Provision responds to Biden push for cancer cure

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Vice President Joe Biden’s recent commitment to lead a “moonshot” toward a cancer cure promises to deal a blow to the disease that has become the leading killer in the United States.

The initiative, kicked off last week, commits to bringing together a combination of therapies with “innovations in data and technology” to create treatment options that are ready for prime time—with the goal of making “a decade worth of advances in five years.”

Here at Provision, we couldn’t agree more. It’s something we work toward every day.

We believe the solution to a cancer cure is a combination of early detection along with both currently available and up-and-coming therapies that have the power to transform cancer treatment as we know it.

Here’s our view of a cancer-free future.

Ninety percent of cancer is treatable when detected early. If those at risk for a variety of cancers—particularly the big three: prostate, breast and lung—were screened appropriately, many of the cancer deaths we now mourn could be prevented.

For those who test positive for cancer, the healthcare system needs to, through research as well as financial support via insurance coverage, move toward treatments that kill the cancer but spare the patient and sustain quality of life.

Today, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy in various measures and combinations are the typical recipe for cancer care. All three of these remedies carry their own risks, from that of infection and complications in surgery to the collateral damage of radiation to the harsh toll chemotherapy takes on the entire body. Truly, the cure can be worse than the disease.

Here’s our vision of the future:

First, conventional radiation and most surgery should be replaced by proton therapy. Proton therapy is a proven, FDA-approved treatment option for those diagnosed with localized cancer such as found in the prostate, breast or brain. This non-invasive treatment reduces the side effects caused by conventional radiation therapy and surgery. A growing number of proton therapy centers are making this world-class option available to patients across the globe. We support their research in developing the best treatment plans and clinically demonstrating proton therapy’s effectiveness.

Second, immunotherapy offers the promise of a future without chemotherapy. By using the body’s own disease-fighting system to eradicate cancer, it eliminates the toxic, debilitating side effects now experienced by chemo patients and better prevents spread of the disease. Research should be dedicated to bringing this unique treatment to everyday application for cancers that now require chemotherapy.

And serious, strategic investment should be made in cancer prevention by encouraging healthy lifestyle choice and reducing environmental risks.

As Biden has said, for too long research has been stuck in silos, focused on narrow investigative tracks and lacking a clear, comprehensive, thoughtful vision that could actually move the needle on cancer mortality. Treatment is too often dictated by the financial interest of the health care industry rather than public and personal health priorities. Patients are too often relegated into the role of bystanders rather than active participants in their care.

We rejoice in the government’s fresh approach to this growing crisis. We are encouraged by the vice president’s willingness to seek the best answers to a problem that has touched his life and ours. We believe the answer is within reach—and we want to be a part of the solution. As Provision’s own ice-skating, cancer-surviving spokesman Scott Hamilton so eloquently puts it: “We want to help turn cancer upside down!”

 

 

St. Jude’s new center puts Tennessee on the proton therapy map

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With this week’s opening of a brand new proton therapy treatment center at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Tennessee becomes one of just five states with two proton therapy centers.

There are now 19 proton therapy centers nationwide.

The $90 million St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center has three treatment rooms where children are already receiving proton therapy. St. Jude aims to treat 100 children at the facility by the end of next year.

“Proton therapy is an evolution in delivery of focused radiation therapy that allows us to deliver the highest possible dose to tumors while limiting damage to surrounding tissue,” said Thomas Merchant, chair of St. Jude’s department of radiation oncology. St. Jude is the first children’s hospital to establish a proton therapy center.

For Provision, which also treats pediatric patients with proton therapy at its center in Knoxville, St. Jude’s adoption of the up-and-coming medical technology is an important part of making it more widely known and available to patients who need it, says Scott Warwick, vice president of program development and strategic initiatives for Provision Center for Proton Therapy.

“With St. Jude’s entry into proton therapy, Tennessee has become a center for quality cancer care for children and adults,” Warwick said. “And in a couple of years, when the Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in Franklin, Tenn., proton therapy will be readily available to every resident of Tennessee as well as those in surrounding communities. Our state has become a model for expansion of proton therapy around the world.”

Scott Hamilton, whose growth as a child was hampered by a later-discovered brain tumor, has become an advocate for cancer patients as well as proton therapy. The Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation is developing the new Middle Tennessee Center in partnership with Provision.

“I can’t think of a better Christmas gift for the patients at St. Jude,” Hamilton says. “Onward and upward!”

Ultramarathoner sets goal for cancer cause

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For Ron Moore, becoming an ultra-marathoner happened over the years as he evolved from short-distance venues to longer —and much longer—races.

Moore, senior physicist in ProNova Solutions’ research and development division, ran his first marathon in 2005. He didn’t finish, thanks to an injured calf, but was back at it the following year, completing the Chicago Marathon in 2006. He transitioned to trail running, completing his first 50K in 2010 and upping the ante from there. He finished a 70-mile race earlier this year.

“I ran track and cross country through high school and college, and as I started losing speed, I just ran farther,” he says.

Moore is training now for his first 100-mile race, the Pinhoti 100 set in Alabama’s Talladega National Forest. But this time he’s not just running for his own accomplishment. He will be raising money for the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, a Provision partner non-profit founded by the noted Olympic ice skater and cancer survivor. The foundation funds world class research and quality care with the goal of improving cancer survivorship.

The reason is personal: A few years ago Moore’s wife, Patty, was diagnosed with renal clear cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer.

Doctors discovered the tumor during a routine MRI, part of a regular screening because of her high risk for breast cancer, which runs in her family, Moore says. The cancer is found most often in men ages 50-70. She was in her 30s.

“The doctor said, ‘This is an old, white guy’s cancer,’” he says. “It was pretty hard because it was so shocking.”

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Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center Unanimously Approved for Nashville

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Scott Hamilton and Terry Douglass stand in an unfinished proton therapy treatment room in 2013 at Provision Center for Proton Therapy in Knoxville. Douglass and Hamilton are developing the Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in Middle Tennessee. Photo by J.Miles Carey/News Sentinel

An application for a certificate of need was approved unanimously (9-0) today by the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency for the development of Tennessee’s third proton therapy cancer treatment center.  Provision Trust, Inc. and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation are planning to develop and operate the first Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in the United States in the city of Franklin in Williamson County.

The $109 million not-for-profit center will be open to all qualified and properly credentialed radiation oncologists, regardless of hospital affiliation, bringing proton therapy to the citizens of Middle Tennessee.  The proton center will be developed on an 11.6-acre vacant lot near Williamson Medical Center and the existing Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Franklin.

Proton Therapy is one of the most advanced treatments available to cancer patients.  Currently, there are only 15 proton therapy centers in the United States. Provision currently owns and operates one of those 14 centers located in Knoxville.  Hamilton serves as a board member of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy.

The addition of the first Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in Hamilton’s city of residence is a significant step towards a progressive new vision in cancer advocacy, awareness and treatment. The center will primarily serve 38 Middle Tennessee counties. Its secondary service area extends to West Tennessee and adjoining areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky.

Read the entire news release here.

Read coverage in the Knoxville News Sentinel here. 

Read coverage in The Tennessean here.