Proton Therapy for Cancer Patients Coming to Franklin

Franklin resident and Olympic figure skating gold medalist, Scott Hamilton, has partnered with a Knoxville-based cancer therapy company to bring a specialized form of treatment to Franklin.

Provision Trust, Inc. and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation are planning to build the $109 million not-for-profit center on a lot near Williamson Medical Center in Franklin.

The proton therapy center will be open to all qualified and properly credentialed radiation oncologists, regardless of hospital affiliation, bringing proton therapy to citizens all around Middle Tennessee. The center will primarily serve 38 Middle Tennessee counties. Its secondary service area extends to West Tennessee and adjoining areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky.

Proton therapy is one of the most advanced treatments available to cancer patients. Currently, there are only 15 proton therapy centers in the United States. Provision currently owns and operates one of those 14 centers located in Knoxville. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is planning to include proton therapy in their 2016 development.

“Proton therapy is an amazing form of cancer treatment that allows patients to receive the life-saving care they need while maintaining a high quality of life at the same time,” said Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medalist and cancer surviving Franklin resident. “I am eager to see it available here in Middle Tennessee. This community leads the nation in so many ways when it comes to healthcare, and this project represents another important opportunity to demonstrate our leadership yet again. I am proud to lend my name and support to this initiative.”

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses a single beam of high-energy protons to treat various forms of cancer. Proton therapy treats tumors by directing radiation into the tumor site where doses of radiation destroy cancerous cells. Physicians can control the timing and dosage of energy from protons, which allows the maximum energy deposited directly into the tumor, reducing damage to nearby healthy tissue and thus limiting negative side effects.

Protons are more precise than traditional radiation therapy, with the proton beam being fine-tuned within millimeters of accuracy to deliver maximum energy within a controlled range of the tumor. Proton treatment can also be combined with radiation, chemotherapy and biological treatments, depending on the cancer type to provide better outcomes and less tissue damage. Also, Proton treatment greatly improves pediatric outcomes.

Scott Hamilton has an Olympic gold medal for figure skating, is a cancer survivor and lives in Franklin. Hamilton serves as a board member of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy and formed the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation (SHCF) with a mission to improve cancer patient survivorship by supporting world class cancer research and the highest quality patient treatment and care.

With the addition of the Scott Hamilton Proton Center, Tennessee will be the only state with three proton therapy centers. This form of treatment is available mostly through renowned cancer centers such as the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University.

Emory University in Atlanta and the Mayo Clinic plan to open centers this year.

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