Lu and Gabe are the faces of the Chemo Duck cancer program

Provision employee uses her family’s cancer experience to help and inspire other patients

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To say the things Lu has done in her life are inspirational, might be an understatement. As a Care Coordinator at Provision CARES Proton Therapy, Lu is often the first person a cancer patient speaks to when they call our center. Her ability to put others at ease makes her a calming presence for people who are coping with stress and uncertainty as they seek out treatment options.

Her gifts come naturally, but they’re also amplified by her own life experience. Lu’s family has dealt with cancer on more than one occasion – her son was diagnosed as an infant; her husband got cancer more than a decade later. Not only did she find a way to channel that experience to help Provision patients, but she also used it as an opportunity to start the Chemo Duck program, helping thousands of pediatric patients cope with cancer treatment.

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Raising awareness and celebrating life during National Cancer Survivors Month

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June is National Cancer Survivors Month and each year, on the first Sunday of June, we celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day!  With nearly 17 million people in the U.S. living with and beyond cancer – and 43 million cancer survivors worldwide – we all know someone whose life has been touched by cancer.

Naturally, this is a very special event for our Provision family. Since opening our first proton therapy center in 2014, we have treated more than 5,000 patients. We are so grateful to have been a part of each of their journeys. In honor of them, we wanted to share this blog that includes more information on cancer survivorship and how you can join in on the June activities.

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Felicia rings the bell after completing proton therapy for breast cancer

Breast cancer patient says proton therapy allowed her to ‘go on with life’

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The way Felicia sees it, her cancer journey wasn’t a marathon. It wasn’t even just one race. Instead, it was a series of short courses, each with its own finish line.

And proton therapy was her final finish line. The one that meant the most.

“I took it in chunks. I looked at everything as a finish line,” she says. “Like going through chemo. Just get to that finish line. And proton therapy is my last finish line, so I’m excited!”

The road to that final finish line included mountains of research. She chose to be her own health advocate and made sure she knew each and every one of her treatment options. Ultimately, she took a path that led her to Provision CARES Proton Therapy.

“I still have a lot of life ahead of me. I’ve got things I want to do. Proton therapy makes me feel like my cancer is truly out of me and I’m done. Let’s go on with life. Let’s move forward!”

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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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The importance of nutrition for cancer prevention, management, and survivorship

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March is National Nutrition Month – an opportune time to raise awareness about the important role of nutrition for cancer prevention, cancer management, and survivorship.

Nutrition is an often overlooked, but essential, piece of the puzzle when considering a cancer patient’s overall health. That’s why we’ve invited our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Jennifer Wilson, to be this month’s guest blogger.

In this article, Jennifer outlines a few keys to nutritional success that can help lower your risk of cancer. She also discusses how cancer patients can help manage their nutrition during treatment, along with some tips to continue living a healthy life after treatment.

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Kids playing at summer camps for cancer support to help alleviate anxiety and fear

Summer Camps for Cancer Support for Kids (& Kids at Heart)

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For many kids (and kids at heart), summer camps are one of the best parts of summer and are often a normal part of childhood.  As most families who have experienced cancer can attest, normalcy during cancer treatment is extremely important. However, when a cancer diagnosis affects a child or parent in the family, summer camp might not be an option due to a child’s medical needs or the lack of extra finances to pay for traditional summer camps. Fortunately, there are many summer camps for cancer support specifically designed for children with cancer, siblings, or even the whole family. The camp experience can provide positive benefits that will last long after summer ends. Camp attendance may help lessen feelings of anxiety, depression, or loneliness and increase self-esteem, body positivity, and coping abilities.

Camps and retreats such as the resources listed here are specially curated to provide a fun activities away from the hospital and appointments, while allowing those in attendance to meet other patients, survivors, or family members, and learn that they are not alone. Camps will often have full-time care for campers, with most of the overnight camps offering on-site medical facilities staffed with oncology providers who can administer chemo or other medical care, if necessary. Please note that if you are on active treatment for cancer, be sure to discuss your desire to attend a camp or retreat with your oncologist. (more…)