Middle Tennessee getting rare, expensive device for cancer treatement

Mar 12, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  An East Tennessee company is making a $120 million health care investment in the mid-state.

Provision Cares Proton Therapy will operate a proton therapy center in Franklin; currently one of only 26 such facilities in the nation.

Credit provisionproton.com

ProNova Solutions of Maryville, Tennessee builds the high tech machines, which use proton radiation to destroy cancer calls.

The proton device uses a cyclotron, particle accelerator and giant magnets to push protons into the tumor at two-thirds the speed of light. The energy released as the particles strike the cancer cells destroy the tumor.

The more common, conventional x-ray radiation treatments do much the same thing. Hoqwever, the more precisely targeted protons do less damage to the vital organs surrounding the tumor.

Provision Care Vice President Tara Mullaney says the proton machine is especially suited to treating tumors.

“Breast cancer, lung cancers, certainly prostate, brain cancers, any head and neck, ocular, and then pediatric patients are especially important.”

Mullaney says proton therapy is also a good choice for children with cancer.

“Children are still developing and so we want to do the absolute least amount of damage, certainly to anybody, but to our pediatric patients because their bodies and their brains are still developing."

As you might imagine, proton therapy doesn’t come cheap given its large installation price tag. Mullaney says commercial insurance generally doesn’t cover the cost, but Medicaid, Medicare and military TriCare policies will.

The facility will open in late summer near Williamson Medical Center at the intersection of Hwy 96 and Interstate 65.

Would you like to learn more about the Franklin proton facility?