FACEBOOK LIVE: Hampton University Hosts Press Conference to Call on Insurance Companies to Ensure Access to Proton Therapy for Cancer Patients

Alliance for Proton Therapy Access

By Ellen Almond | August 30, 2017

-Virginia cancer patients who have had their proton therapy denied by their insurers speak out-

HAMPTON — Virginia cancer patients and loved ones who have been denied proton radiation therapy by their insurers are speaking out Thursday, August 31 at a press conference organized by Hampton University to send a message to insurers that enough is enough.

Dianne Weber is one of many Virginia residents who have been blocked from receiving the best possible treatment for their cancer. While her expert oncologist at MD Anderson recommended proton therapy to treat her stage four anal cancer, her insurer, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Virginia, has denied coverage. Her husband, Jack Weber, has been fighting back through the appeals process on Dianne’s behalf. Last week, Anthem denied Dianne Weber’s appeal.

Jack Weber and several other Virginia residents who feel they were unfairly denied access to proton therapy by their insurance carriers will tell their stories at Thursday’s press conference.

In February, the Virginia General Assembly passed a bill making it illegal for insurance companies to hold proton therapy to a higher standard than other forms of cancer treatment, such as traditional radiation and chemotherapy. However, Virginia patients have continued to be denied coverage since the bill was passed and signed into law by the governor with an emergency provision.

Proton therapy is a precise form of radiation therapy treatment that targets cancer cells without exposing the surrounding healthy tissue and organs to excessive radiation, thereby reducing harmful side-effects and other health risks. It is used to combat some of the most common cancers in America, including lung, breast, esophageal and various types of head and neck cancers, among others. While an increasing amount of published data, professional guidelines and studies have emerged recommending proton for certain cancers, many insurers continue to deem proton as “experimental.”


  • Jack Weber, husband of a cancer patient who was denied proton therapy coverage over her physician’s recommendation.
  • Lawrence “Larry” Davis, Retired Air Force serviceman and 2014 HUPTI graduate who was denied proton therapy coverage through the VA Hospital.
  • Ben Lambert, Richmond, VA native and 2017 HUPTI graduate who was denied insurance coverage for proton therapy by his insurance carrier.


  • August 31, 2017 at 11 a.m. ET