National Proton Conference highlights emerging ideas in proton therapy

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The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) recently hosted the 2022 National Proton Conference – a gathering of physicians, administrators, physicists, and more from proton therapy facilities across the United States. Our very own Dr. James Gray, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director of Provision CARES Proton Therapy Nashville, attended the conference. He serves on the NAPT Board of Directors and Physicians Advisory Committee, and after taking some time to digest all he learned, Dr. Gray is pleased to report that proton therapy is alive and well!

We sat down with Dr. Gray for some Q&A about the new technologies and emerging ideas the nation’s leading proton experts are talking about.

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Members of Blue Origin's Radiation Effects Team pose while testing space travel equpiment at Provision CARES Proton Therapy Knoxville

How protons created an unlikely connection between cancer treatment and space travel

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What do you envision when you look at the sky and think of outer space?

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Merek Chertkow of Blue Origin, an aerospace company whose mission is to benefit the Earth by one day sending millions of people to live and work in space. (Side note: Just days after we spoke to him, Blue Origin made headlines by successfully completing New Shepard’s first human flight!)

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Cancer patient holding covid vaccine information card

COVID vaccine and cancer: What patients need to know

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It seems like new information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is coming out every day. Most recently, the development and availability of vaccines have stirred up many questions, as well as some confusion. The influx of COVID vaccine information (and misinformation) can be even more daunting for cancer patients and survivors.

To help cancer patients better understand the vaccines, Provision CARES Proton Therapy hosted a special chat session with our Proton Ambassadors. Dr. James Gray, Medical Director and board-certified Radiation Oncologist at our Nashville center, gave a great presentation on “COVID-19 Vaccine and Cancer: Facts vs. Fiction.”

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Proton therapy can help reduce heart radiation exposure from cancer treatment

If you have one of these cancers, proton therapy can help keep your heart safe

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When it comes to treating cancer with radiation, many patients are concerned about the long-term effects the treatment will have on their heart. For cancers near this vital organ, traditional x-ray radiation can cause several cardiac health issues, including heart attacks, heart failure, and arrhythmias.1

Heart radiation from cancer treatment is especially worrisome for breast, lung, and esophageal cancer patients. If any part of the heart is exposed to radiation, the risk of heart disease is increased. Often, these cardiac side effects don’t appear until several years after the cancer treatment.

In this article, we’ll look at each of those cancers and identify the risk associated with radiation, as well as how proton therapy cancer treatment can help alleviate some of the concerns.

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New study shows lung cancer proton therapy may reduce risk of heart disease

New study suggests proton therapy for lung cancer lowers risk of heart disease

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When treating lung cancer with radiation therapy, there is a significant concern that the treatment dose will expose the heart to excess radiation. One way to avoid this unnecessary radiation is by using proton therapy, a more precise form of radiation therapy as compared to traditional radiation therapy (x-rays/photons).

Researchers now say there is a link between lung cancer proton therapy and a reduced risk of certain heart diseases, including mini-strokes and heart attacks.

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Study finds PSA test for prostate cancer has long-term benefits

PSA test for prostate cancer offers long-term benefits, study finds

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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and it’s common to hear public service announcements reminding men to get a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Afterall, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men and early detection is the best prevention.

However, recent recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) cast doubt on whether the potential risks associated with PSA screening are worth the reward. Now though, new research suggests those risks may be exaggerated.

The long-term benefits of the PSA test for prostate cancer may outweigh any potential harm according to a recent paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). While current guidelines advise patients and physicians to determine the value of routine PSA screening on a case-by-case basis, researchers suggest that perceptions of PSA tests as ineffective are based on overstated harms and point to evidence showing that screenings can reduce death rates and prevent metastatic disease.

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Delaying cancer screening tests during COVID puts patients at risk

Delayed cancer screenings in COVID era put patients at risk

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When the COVID-19 pandemic began, life as we knew it came to an abrupt halt. That included routine healthcare visits, as many providers postponed appointments and cancer screening tests that were deemed “non-essential.”

In the United States alone, an estimated 22 million cancer screening tests were disrupted by COVID-19 from April to June 2020. As a result, about 80,000 patients could be at risk for delayed or missed diagnoses.

The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science recently published these estimates as part of its report on shifts in healthcare demand, delivery and care during the COVID-19 era. In this article, we’ll look at how diagnostic procedures for some of the most common cancers are impacted. We’ll also share some tips to help you move forward with your cancer-related care in a timely and safe manner.

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