In 2014, the Tennessee Cancer Patient Coalition (TCPC) was formed, and from 2014-2023, TCPC served as an advocate for cancer patients and their caregivers through many initiatives. Our mission was to educate cancer patients and their families on treatment solutions. One of the opportunities was to introduce proton therapy to cancer patients in Tennessee, when Provision Healthcare built two new operating proton therapy centers in Knoxville in 2014 and Nashville in 2018. This advanced cancer treatment had not been available to cancer patients in our state and TCPC educated cancer patients and promoted proton therapy as a treatment option, when they otherwise may not have heard about it from their physician. In addition, Tennessee Cancer Patient Coalition advocated for multiple proton therapy bills presented to the Tennessee State Legislature from 2014-2019 to expand coverage and patient access of proton therapy. After many years of lobbying and providing patient testimonies at committee hearings, the Proton Therapy Access Bill was passed in 2019 and implemented in 2020 for those members of the Tennessee State Benefits Plan.
We are proud of the many successful contributions the coalition made towards cancer patient advocacy, and we appreciate Don Denton, who served as President of TCPC, working tirelessly as a champion for cancer patients. Many cancer patients thank Don today, because they benefited from a treatment of their choice with better outcomes as a result of his leadership and effectiveness in raising awareness. Over the years, we reached several important milestones to help ensure patients could make informed decisions about their care and have equal access to the most advanced treatment methods available. We feel we have fulfilled our mission and that it is time for Tennessee Cancer Patient Coalition to dissolve. Thank you to all who supported TCPC over the years on the many initiatives and grass roots efforts to raise awareness of patient choice and patient access to treatment. We believe the coalition’s positive impact on strengthening cancer patients as their own informed advocate and the positive impact of expanded treatment accessibility will be felt by cancer patients in our state for many years to come