Early detection of cancer can be the next best thing to prevention. There are several widely known risk factors for prostate cancer that may increase the probability of a man to develop prostate cancer. Age, race and family history are the most common today. According to ASCO Cancer.Net, “Prostate cancer that runs in a family, called familial prostate cancer, occurs about 20% of the time.” Sources say that shared genes, similar lifestyles and environments play a role in developing familial prostate cancer. Hereditary prostate cancer accounts for almost 5% of cases. This type of gene mutation is passed down within family generations. A few characteristics for hereditary prostate cancer could include: (more…)
For the past three and a half years, patients have been coming to Provision Cares Proton Therapy Center seeking the best treatment and care for the cancer diagnosis. Many of them have shared their stories with us. Today, we celebrate these survivors by checking in with some of the Provision alumni whose stories we have featured in the past. Click the links to find out more about them on our website, protonstories.com (more…)
This is an edited letter Provision founder and Chairman Terry Douglass sent to all Provision employees.
A friend recently gave me a book for my birthday titled The Book of Joy, written based on conversations between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. The promotional description of the book states:
“Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet. In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness’s eightieth birthday and to create what they hoped would be a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question:”
“How do we find joy in the fact of life’s inevitable suffering?” (more…)
On this, National Cancer Survivors Day, we take a moment just to appreciate. Life. Health. Survival.
Those who receive a cancer diagnosis no longer take those things for granted. They have become a precious gift. Something to be celebrated. But, better to hear the words of those who’ve been there. Below are thoughts from two young cancer survivors and Provision alumni. You can read the stories of their cancer journeys, and many others, at ProtonStories.com. (more…)
Staying healthy after cancer treatment is an important part of long-term survival and crucial in helping patients resume normal lives.
Sometimes, patients want to learn how to make healthy life changes following the restrictions on exercise and diet during cancer treatment. Sometimes they’re grappling with the results of treatment on their bodies.
Like Toni Doody.
A breast cancer survivor, she sought physical therapy from Kathy Kearse with Provision Physical Therapy when suffering from lymphedema after her bilateral mastectomy. After receiving treatment there for several months, she learned about a new class Kearse and cancer exercise specialist Kathleen Bullock Provision Health and Performance, were launching, designed specifically for the needs of cancer survivors.
“I thought it would be a good fit, and it was,” says Doody. “I just wanted to be able to do the exercise that would help my body and improve flexibility.”
After attending the first round of classes last year, Doody signed up for the second set of classes in January. The bi-weekly classes each feature an exercise session and an educational seminar on a variety of topics ranging from the risk of lymphedema, hydration, nutrition, foam rolling, relaxation and restoration.
“I really like Kathleen. She’s very positive and motivating,” says Doody. :It’s always easier to do it with someone else.”
In addition to educational sessions, the program consists of stretching, strengthening, and cardiovascular conditioning exercises targeted at the needs of men and women following recovery from cancer treatments who are ready to take the next step toward better health.
A new “Small Group Training for Cancer Survivors” will be held April 19-May 12, from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. More times will be made available as needed.
The class is open to both men and women who have completed treatment for cancer. A medical release from an oncologist or primary care physician is preferred in order to ensure participants are ready for exercise.
Groups will consist of 4-8 participants. Cost is $160 for eight sessions. For more information or to sign up, call 865-232-1414.
This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in Vibrant Life Magazine.
Patty sits in the waiting room chair, hair still boyish thanks to a recent round of chemo, divorced shortly before her diagnosis, mother of two young boys.
She is telling me about her experience with breast cancer. The surprising news. Juggling work and single motherhood. Her eyes spill, not with tears of sorrow or bitterness but thankfulness.
“I’m very independent, but I’ve had to learn to depend on friends and family. Cancer has helped me allow other people into my life,” she says. “Cancer has shown me the power of prayer. Cancer has taught me how to appreciate every single day.”
I would not have guessed, when I started my new job at a cancer treatment center earlier this year, that it would be such a happy place.
Each day patients, in various stages of illness, come to receive the therapy they hope will save their lives. None of them would choose to be here. And yet, again and again they express their gratitude for the simple gifts life brings.
Bob with esophageal cancer speaks of his daughter-in-law, who faithfully took him to daily appointments. Dennis, a prostate cancer patient visiting the center from out of town, is grateful for the employees who make sure his stay is as comfortable as possible and accommodate needed trips back home. Toni is grateful for the doctors and therapists who made her daughter laugh during treatment for a brain tumor. Melvin is simply glad to have his wife, treated for breast cancer earlier this year, alive and well.
Sharon, who works the front desk, is a stage 3 breast cancer survivor—and has the battle scars of a mastectomy, hysterectomy and radiation damage to her heart and lungs to prove it.
Still, she says, “If I had to choose between having cancer and not having cancer, I wouldn’t change anything. I don’t let the little things bother me. I’m a more caring person. I don’t worry about the future. I appreciate what I have right now.”
“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you,” writes Sarah Ban Breathnack in her book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.
Indeed. Scientific research shows gratitude, and in particular the repetitive practice of it, improves a sense of well-being, relieves depression and other mental health disorders, improves sleep, lowers blood pressure—all contributors to better physical and mental health.
Thankfulness is linked to spiritual well-being too.
One study showed that gratitude served as a connecting factor between those who were spiritually inclined and also experienced positive impacts on their health. Another study from the Journal of Religion and Health bears the title: “Spirituality and positive psychology go hand in hand…”
At Provision, thankfulness is typically couched in faith. It’s not that patients haven’t done their share of questioning, been through dark days, wondered “why me?” It’s that, somehow, in that journey of their greatest fears they’ve found peace in not having all the answers, in being grateful for the moment, in trusting God with the rest.
As author Ann Voskamp writes, “When I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.”
Women who go through proton therapy for cancer have a set of unique needs, and now there’s a group to help address them.
Introducing, the Proton Gals, a support and advocacy group for women who have had or are undergoing proton therapy treatment. With the slogan “Supporting proton therapy and each other,” the group will provide a variety of programs and resources for current and former Provision patients.
The first meeting will be held at 5 p.m., Nov. 16 at the Provision Learning and Innovation Center. For more information or to RSVP, call Sharon Bishop Hall at 865-862-1625—or talk to her at the front desk at Provision Center for Proton Theray, where she serves as a hospitality coordinator. The group has a website and Facebook page devoted to exchanging stories and relevant information to proton therapy patients and cancer survivors.
“We want a venue for women to talk about what they’re going through,” says Hall.
Hall launched and coordinates the Proton Gals group, modeled after a similar program called Proton Guys, which brings together men who’ve gone through proton therapy as an informal support group and promoters of the treatment in the community. Since opening in January, 2014, Provision has treated 184 female patients for cancers ranging from breast to lung to Hodgkin lymphoma.
As a survivor of stage 3 breast cancer, Hall has had extensive experience in the cancer support community including involvement with local cancer support groups and one-on-one connection with cancer patients as a mastectomy fitter at Thompson Cancer Survival Center, the University of Tennessee Medical Center and Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center. She also is a member of the steering committee for the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” initiative and is a member of the Young Survival Coalition.
“You can talk to family, but it’s difficult for them to understand since they’re not in your shoes,” she says. “And, because the experience of cancer patients who have proton therapy is unique from those who have other forms of treatment, I thought it was important to create a forum especially for this group of survivors.”
Proton Gals will have quarterly meetings that will feature guest speakers, opportunity for one-on-one interaction, health and wellness information and an online community to allow members to stay connected and share their experiences. The group also will take on an advocacy role, helping promote improved access and insurance coverage for this more precise, less damaging alternative to conventional radiation therapy.
The group is designed to be a safe place for women receiving treatment at the proton therapy center that will continue to support and assist them after treatment is complete.
“There are side effects and after effects from cancer and the things your body has gone through as well as simply readjusting to ‘normal’ life, “ Hall says. “Just because you’re out of treatment doesn’t mean it’s all over.”
Cancer may change your life. It shouldn’t define it.
On any given day, the lobby at Provision Proton Therapy Center is full of patients awaiting their turns in the treatment room.
Young and old. Homemakers. Students. Business owners. Musicians. Factory workers. Teachers. Pilots. Engineers. Doctors. From all over the country. All over the world.
Cancer, the great equalizer.
But at Provision, we don’t celebrate cancer. We celebrate life.
Meet Emma, whose journey brought her from China to a new family in Kentucky. Meet Patty, a make-up artist who frequents local TV sets and is on a first-name basis with Peyton Manning. Meet Mary, whose proton therapy treatment allowed her to easily resume her active life as an antique finisher and volunteer. Meet James, who claims martial arts, the military and music in equal measure. Meet Ryan, who’s bravely fighting a brain tumor with quiet grace and humor. Meet Walt, who faced cancer like any other adventure in life—from flying helicopters to ice hockey to road biking.
Not cases. Not charts. Not charge numbers. What we treat at Provision are people.
ProtonStories.com tells their stories. Check it out today—and there’s much more to come.