2019 Year in Review at Provision CARES Proton Therapy

Year in Review: 2019 at Provision CARES Proton Therapy


Major milestones. Community outreach. Inspirational moments.

Those are some of the recurring themes we noticed as we looked back on the highlights of 2019 at Provision CARES Proton Therapy. It was a year marked by plenty of “firsts,” as well as a concerted effort to be an innovative leader in cancer treatment, and a commitment to our mission of making proton therapy more accessible to patients around the world.

Here are some of Provision’s key moments from 2019.


Local program combines PSA testing with blood donation


This year Eddie Check is doing the same thing it’s been doing for the past 14 years: providing prostate cancer screenings and blood donations to the people of East Tennessee.

This year’s event kicks off Thursday, Sept. 14, and will be hosted at 12 sites throughout the Knoxville region on Thursday and Friday. The event offers free PSA screenings to men over 40 years old—blood donations encouraged but not required. (more…)

Eddie Check brings PSA tests to East Tennessee


Erven Williams spent his career at TVA as a systems engineer in in dam safety and water management. If he hadn’t committed to early screening for prostate cancer, he might not be enjoying retirement now.

Williams, who is black, lost both his father and grandfather to prostate cancer. He says, “It is so important that males do get a PSA checkup because the earlier you catch it, the better your chances are of being cured. And for African-Americans it’s even more important. It affects us more; it’s more aggressive.”

For 12 years now, Eddie Check has been giving men in East Tennessee the opportunity to take control of their prostate health … for free.  (more…)

Get Checked! Free PSA Tests Offered at Eddie Check


When Eddie Kirkland found out he had prostate cancer, it was too late to do anything about it. He died four years later.

That was 1976, and little was known about the risks of prostate cancer—the leading type of cancer in men. But that’s changed, locally thanks in part to an event called Eddie Check, which Kirkland’s son Kevin founded more than 30 years later in his honor.

Eddie Kirkland, Staff Sergeant, Marines

“Back in 1972, you didn’t hear people talk about prostate health, you didn’t hear people talk about PSA tests because there were no PSA tests at that time,” he says. “I always said one day I wanted to do something that impacted men’s health like breast cancer awareness has impacted women’s health.”

Eddie Check pairs free PSA tests for men with a Medic blood drive and will be held Sept. 17 & 18 in locations throughout Knox, Anderson, Scott, Hamblen, Cocke, Blount, Roane and McMinn counties. Last year, the program collected more 1,200 units of blood and conducted more than 1,000 PSA tests. Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the primary medical sponsor for the event, and the Provision CARES Foundation pays for the PSA tests.

For Kevin Wathen of Maryville, getting a PSA test through EddieCheck revealed what a recent trip to his doctor had not: an elevated PSA level. A follow-up biopsy with a urologist in which nine of the 12 samples tested positive for cancer.

“There were no symptoms to tell me there was a problem,” Wathen says. “If I hadn’t had the test done I wouldn’t have given it any thought.”

As a result of EddieCheck, Wathen learned of his diagnosis and became an early patient at Provision Center for Proton Therapy. There, his prostate cancer was treated with protons, a type of radiation that pinpoints a tumor and spares much of the healthy tissue around it. This reduces side effects such as incontinence and impotency as well as discomfort during the time of treatment.

“It still doesn’t feel like I ever had cancer,” Wathen says.

As EddieCheck has grown and expanded, Kirkland says more men locally are becoming familiar with the risk of prostate cancer and how to keep tabs on their health.

“I think the education and the promotion we put out for prostate health have really resonated,” he says, adding that other programs coordinated by local hospitals and advocacy organizations have provided a boost to the most common of men’s cancers. “I think all of that has really improved education on prostate health. It has made us proud to be a small part of that.”

Men’s health awareness should include cancer screenings


June is Men’s Health Awareness month—a time to remember that keeping tabs on your health can pay long-term dividends.

Cancer screenings can play an important role in health awareness, particularly for those at risk of certain types of cancer, because catching and treating cancer in its early stages improves the prognosis for remission and long-term survival.

This is particularly true for lung cancer patients.

For example, in lung cancer patients, those who have stage 1 cancer experience a 45-49 percent five-year survival rate—that is, 45-49 percent of patients are still alive five years following treatment. That compares to a 5-14 percent five-year survival rate for stage 3 and a 1 percent five-year survival rate for those with Stage 4 lung cancer. That’s according to statistics from National Cancer Institute.

Lung screenings are now covered by Medicare as well as state and private insurers for those at high risk for lung cancer. Medicare, for example, pays for the test for those between ages 55 and 77 who’ve smoked 30 pack-years—or the number of cigarettes smoked per day divided by 20 (1 pack has 20 cigarettes)—as well as those who currently smoke or quit smoking within the past 15 years.

Provision Diagnostic Imaging offers lung screenings, a low dose CT scan that would cost $300-$500 without health insurance reimbursement. Call (865) 684-2600 to schedule a lung screening.

Unlike lung cancer, prostate cancer has a much higher survivability rate—but it affects a much higher percentage of the population. Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer. In 2015, there will be an estimated 220,800 new cases diagnosed in the U.S., and approximately 14 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate in their lifetimes, according to the National Cancer Institute.


Eddie Check Offers Free Prostate Cancer Screenings September 18 & 19


Eddie Check® and the Provision Center for Proton Therapy are teaming up for the 10th annual Tennessee vs. Florida blood Drive and FREE PSA screenings.  Blood drive and PSA screenings will be offered at 10 different East Tennessee locations across 8 counties on September 18-19.

Unbelievably, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime – and one in 36 will die from it. Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer in American men and second only to lung cancer as the leading cancer-based cause of death in American men. The American Cancer Society estimates that in the U.S. during 2014, about 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed, and 29,480 men will die from it.

But there’s still good news. If prostate cancer is caught early, the 5-year survival rate is nearly 100%. The numbers say it all: Get tested!  Prostate cancer is rare before age 40, so if you are 40 or older, the first step is a free, simple PSA screening that only requires a blood sample. “PSA” stands for prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by prostate cells. The PSA test is done to help diagnose and follow prostate cancer in men.  No certain PSA level is called normal or abnormal, and an elevated level does not mean you have prostate cancer – only a biopsy can diagnose cancer. Always discuss PSA test results with your doctor.

In 2004, Rockford-based Nisus Corporation, a manufacturer of products for the professional pest management industry, teamed up with area hospitals and MEDIC Regional Blood Center to create Eddie Check, an annual event that adds free PSA screening for prostate cancer to blood drives. It was a simple strategy using MEDIC’s already existing resources to make it fast and easy for men to get a blood sample drawn for the screening. Nisus has a personal stake in the fight; marketing vice president Jim Gorman is a prostate cancer survivor, while company president Kevin L. Kirkland lost his father, Eddie Kirkland, to the disease. In fact, “Eddie Check” is named for Eddie Kirkland.

This year, Nisus and MEDIC are joined by the Provision Center for Proton Therapy as well as sponsors WIVK FM 107.7, The Sports Animal, NewsTalk 98.7 FM, the Knoxville News Sentinel, Rip Noel Studios (media production) and Abacus Arts, Inc. (web hosting and design).

Eddie Check will be held at six locations on Thursday and seven on Friday (10 different locations) in eight East Tennessee counties including Knox, Anderson, Scott, Hamblen, Cocke, Blount, Roane and McMinn. Blood samples for PSA screening will be taken at every location during all hours, even if you don’t donate blood. This free PSA screening is available for men 40 years of age or older, or in the event of family history at an age 10 years younger than the affected relative’s age at his cancer onset.

Thursday, September 18 

  • MEDIC Donor Center, 1601 Ailor Ave., Knoxville, 8:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Hallerin Hill News/Talk 98.7 FM remote, 5:30-10:00 a.m.; Sports Animal remote, 3:00-7:00 p.m.
  • MEDIC Donor Center-Farragut, 11000 Kingston Pike (behind Pittsburgh Paints), Farragut, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.; Phil Williams News/Talk 98.7 FM remote, 3:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Provision Center for Proton Therapy, 1400 Dowell Springs Blvd. Knoxville (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Gunner WIVK FM remote, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  • Books-A-Million, 310 S. Illinois Ave., Oak Ridge (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Walmart-Morristown, 475 S. Davy Crockett Pkwy., Morristown (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Walmart-Oneida, 19740 Alberta St., Oneida (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Friday, September 19

  • MEDIC Donor Center, Headquarters, 1601 Ailor Ave., Knoxville, 8:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Phil Williams News/Talk 98.7 FM remote, 3:00-6:00 p.m.
  • MEDIC Donor Center-Farragut, 11000 Kingston Pike (behind Pittsburgh Paints), Farragut, 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • Provision Center for Proton Therapy, 1400 Dowell Springs Blvd., Knoxville (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Gunner WIVK FM remote, 1-4 p.m.
  • Walmart-Newport, 1075 Cosby Hwy., Newport (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • New Midland Plaza, 232 S. Calderwood St., Alcoa (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Lowe’s-Athens, 1751 South Congress Pkwy., Athens (Bloodmobile), 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • Roane Medical Center, Stower Rotary Community Room. 8045 Roane Medical Center Drive, Harriman, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

On Thursday, don’t miss News/Talk 98.7 FM’s Hallerin Hill from 5:30-10 a.m. and “The Sports Animal from 3-7 p.m at MEDIC on Ailor Ave. Provision Center for Proton Therapy will feature a live remote by WIVK’s Gunner from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and News/Talk 98.7 FM’s Phil Williams will broadcast from MEDIC in Farragut from 3-6 p.m.

On Friday, WIVK’s Gunner will be at Provision Center for Proton Therapy from 1-4 p.m. Phil Williams will be broadcasting from MEDIC on Ailor Ave. from 3-6 p.m.

Free cholesterol screenings and refreshments as well as special Tennessee Vs. Florida “Tail” Gate T-shirts will be provided by MEDIC for all blood donors at all sites. For those men donating blood, a sample for the PSA screening can be taken during donation; however, no blood donation is necessary for the free PSA test alone—only a simple blood sample is needed. MEDIC will draw all samples, which will then be analyzed by an independent laboratory (funded by the Provision CARES Foundation.)

For more information about Eddie Check, visit our website at www.eddiecheck.com or www.provisionproton.com/eddiecheck