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.

First Pediatric Patient Completes Treatment


We are blessed to have celebrated many milestones here at Provision Center for Proton Therapy.  Just before Thanksgiving, our first pediatric patient graduated from treatment.

Here’s an excerpt from The News Sentinel article by Carly Harrington:

Dressed in a suit, 9-year-old Holden Doebler-Cortes walked out from his last cancer treatment on Wednesday and rang the “victory bell.”

Holden, diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2012, is the first pediatric patient to receive and complete proton therapy treatment at the Provision Center for Proton Therapy in the Dowell Springs Business Park off Middlebrook Pike.

After doing their own research, mother Shanna Jones said the family decided to pursue proton therapy treatment after the tumor began to progress. They have been making weekly trips from Gray, Tenn., to Knoxville, and Holden received 28 treatments over the past five and half weeks.

Jones called the experience “phenomenal.” Her son, she said, has seen no side effects including no nausea, vomiting or hair loss.

Read the full article here.


Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville celebrates 200th patient graduation


Provision Center for Proton Therapy recently treated its 200th patient.  We’ve treated patients from 18 states and four countries since treating patient number one on January 20, 2014.  The milestone of 100 patients was reached back in August.

The center opened less than two years after breaking ground in April 2012.  A 220-ton cyclotron, a particle accelerator that produces protons, was installed a year ago in January 2013 at the center, which sits on the 120-acre comprehensive outpatient medical campus at Dowell Springs in Knoxville.  The pastoral campus provides a resort setting with paved walking trails, waterfalls, beautiful landscape that reflects the areas natural beauty and benches to rest, visit, read, reflect or just observe nature.    With out-of-town patients from other states and countries traveling to Knoxville for treatments at Provision Center for Proton Therapy, the economic impact to the Knoxville community is significant.

We are extremely honored to be able to offer the most advanced cancer treatment in the world to the Knoxville and surrounding communities.  We welcome the international patients who are researching and seeking out proton therapy as their treatment of choice.

Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville Treats 100th Patient


The Provision Center for Proton Therapy, Tennessee’s first and only proton therapy treatment facility, celebrated the treatment of its 100th patient today.  Located in Knoxville on the Dowell Springs medical campus, the first patient was treated back in January with this revolutionary and accurate cancer treatment available at only in a handful of cities in the U.S.

Mr. Marshall Munro from Kingsport, Tennessee, completed his treatments today and gained the designation of patient number 100.  Munro completed  40 treatments for prostate cancer.  He traveled four hours round trip from his hime in Kingsport to Knoxville for 40 treatments.  “That’s 10,000 miles and two oil changes,” joked Munro, “but I’m very happy with my decision and it was definitely worth it.”

Provision’s third treatment room is scheduled to open in early fall. Once the third treatment room opens the Provision Center for Proton Therapy will have the ability to provide life-saving cancer treatment to as many as 90+ patients per day.

“The treatment of our 100th patient is an exciting achievement,” said Mary Lou DuBois, President of Provision Center for Proton Therapy.  “We are blessed and honored to provide our community and this region with the most compassionate and effective cancer treatment available today. ”