Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping young cancer patients and their families face the terrible battle against cancer.


Ruby Hodgson, a 6-year-old from Redcar, UK has been keeping cancer at bay for 16 months now. Her thrilled family are celebrating her longest “all clear” since she was diagnosed with a brain tumor four years ago.

Ruby was first diagnosed with cancer when she was just 22 months old. Since then, she has suffered a severe stomach infection, endured gruelling chemotherapy, had pioneering proton therapy in America, and seen the tumor return twice. So each time Ruby goes to the hospital to get her MRI scan results is an anxious moment for her family. But the anxiety gave way to joy this week when her latest results showed she has now been cancer-clear for a fantastic 16 months. Her mom said: “We do the MRI scans every four months, but we delayed this one to five months because it would have been hanging over us at Christmas. It’s awful. It doesn’t get any easier – that nervousness, the feeling sick. If I’m honest, I was probably preparing myself for the worst this time…Yet here we are, 16 months on, and she’s beating the odds.”

Ruby now plans to take part in a sponsored walk that could help get her to America for a holiday with the charity Give Kids The World, which organizes dream trips for children battling serious illnesses. And not only will Ruby be tackling the walk herself, she’s likely to do it wearing her favorite Disney Princess costume!

Source: http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/princess-rubys-wish-granted-shes-10906971



Paris Somma, a 9-year-old girl from Bradford, UK flew out to the US last week to start ten weeks of intensive cancer treatment to hopefully get rid of her brain tumor.

Paris was diagnosed with a pineal gland tumor after suffering from headaches and vision problems last December. Since then, she has already undergone three bouts of major surgery, but the procedures have failed to completely remove the tumor. She was thus sent to a clinic in Oklahoma for a course of proton beam therapy, which is often used to treat brain tumors in young children whose brains are still developing. Her guardian Pauline, who is travelling to the US with her, said: “She is anxious, but she knows what she is facing. The doctors have talked her through things, and they have done a trial run with the type of face mask she will have to wear. Physically she is fine, it’s just the mental side of things.” NHS England is covering the cost of Paris’s treatment, flights, and accommodation, and her family and friends have so far raised more than £3,200 to help fund other expenses, including a laptop to allow her to keep up at school and stay in touch with her two younger sisters. Any remaining funds will be donated in Paris’s name to the CLIC Sargent children’s cancer charity. Referring to the treatment, Mrs Mitchell said: “It’s a walk into the unknown. It will be very hard and very stressful, but it’s just something we have to do. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s what is pushing us on. We just want Paris to be well.” Anyone who wants to help Paris’s fundraising should visit gofundme.com/parissomma.

Source: http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/14287931.NHS_pays_for_Bradford_girl__nine__to_undergo_cancer_treatment_in_the_US/



13-year-old Alana Cooks, who already underwent surgery and proton therapy just before Christmas, began the third – and possibly the last – leg of her treatment plan when she received her first round of chemotherapy last week.

Last fall, Alana was diagnosed with a papillary tumor of the pineal gland, which is near the back of the base of the brain. After undergoing a 7-hour operation to remove the tumor she returned home after spending only five days at the hospital, even though her doctors had expected her to remain in their care for up to three weeks. Alana continued to impress her physicians when she and her parents relocated to Chicago for proton therapy. Other than one headache that resulted from a lack of fluids and a small amount of hair loss, Alana said she suffered no side effects because of the radiation. Now she need chemotherapy to complete her treatment plan. Papillary tumors are so rare that Alana’s diagnosis is one of only 44 known cases, and because of that rarity, her doctors are unsure of how the tumor will react to treatment or what effect the high dose of chemicals could have on her 13-year-old body. Despite that uncertainty, she remains optimistic that at the end of her six-month treatment, she’ll be able to say she’s cancer free. “We don’t really focus on the negative. We try to focus on the positive,” said her mother. Alana will receive chemotherapy about once a month for six months. Doctors will first have to gauge her body’s reaction to the treatment before deciding when she can return home to rest between treatments. “The next steps in my life after chemotherapy are still uncertain right now”, she girl said.

Source: http://www.therepublic.com/view/local_story/Teen-remains-upbeat-as-chemoth_1456017142


Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping patients of all ages and from all over the world in their battle against cancer.


Benjamin Carter, an 11-year-old brave schoolboy from the UK suffering from rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), which affects the muscle tissue in his larynx, has flown out to the USA for a state-of-the-art cancer treatment not yet available in his country.

Ben was admitted to the hospital last September, when doctors thought he had a polyp on his vocal cord. He went in for surgery, but it was soon discovered he had a mass of tissue on his larynx. He underwent a series of tests and began chemotherapy in November. “When he has his chemo, he just sleeps and gets very down, but he will pick himself up, and we try to keep life as normal as possible when he’s well,” his mom says. He will begin his treatment at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute on March 1. “We looked into traditional radiotherapy, but one of the side effects is that it can cause other cancers later in life,” she continues. “He’s an 11-year-old child, and I don’t want the treatment we choose now to cause him future problems. How could we tell him it’s because of our decision he developed cancer again?” So last Monday, Benjamin flew out to Jacksonville, Florida, where he will remain until April 25 to undergo proton therapy, which will irradiate only diseased tissue. He will travel along with his mother Joanna, his 3-year-old sister and his father Dean, who will stay with the family for two weeks before returning home to work. To donate to Ben, visit www.gofundme.com/zktgee7w – the money will be used to make the trip as comfortable as possible for him.

Source: http://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/Benington-schoolboy-flies-USA-specialist-cancer/story-28746009-detail/story.html



On March 19th, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will have a mud run event called Warrior Dash. Mirian Martinez seeks to raise $2,000 and add other team members for mud run to support children with cancer and other diseases.

As one of many hundreds of participants, Mirian is embarking on a goal to fundraise for children diagnosed with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. As of now, proton therapy is the most advanced form of radiation while sparing nearby healthy cells and vital organs located beyond the tumor. St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center will be the first in the world dedicated solely to children, designed specifically to meet the needs of young patients. As a second time St. Jude Warrior, Mirian’s goal is to raise $2,000 before the event takes place. Last year, through the support of contributors, she was able to raise $1,145, which was enough to provide one day of chemotherapy for a child battling leukemia. “Let’s help those in need and raise funds for the kids of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” she said. “Every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists can use that knowledge to save thousands more children around the world.” If you would like to join her team, e-mail her at mirian.martinez19@gmail.com for more information.

Source: http://benitolink.com/st-jude-warrior-seeks-support



Roughly 2 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and if you or a loved one is facing cancer, you might want to consider proton therapy: event if the treatment is not for everyone, for some it is purely and simply a blessing.

Proton therapy patients have fewer side effects because it only kills the cancer: whereas traditional radiation therapy works like a bullet, damaging healthy tissue as it enters and exits the body, proton therapy is like a firecracker placed inside the tumor, where the explosion of radiation damages just the tumor and nothing else. There is thus no nausea or burning, and best of all, no organ damage. Thanks to proton therapy, Jeff Powell and his wife believe they dodged two bullets: Jeff not only beat prostate cancer, but he also avoided the miserable side effects that often accompany traditional methods. “I had looked at surgery, and I talked to some friends at a local prostate meeting who had it, and they had a lot of trouble with incontinence and sexual malfunction. And at my age I just didn’t want to live like that,” he recalled. “Everything that worked when I started my treatment works fine now,” Jeff beamed. Craig Fieldings, 45, also chose proton therapy to treat his prostate cancer. “I’m half-way through my treatment right now and it’s been a pretty good experience,” he said. The cost of proton therapy is about three times the cost of traditional treatment, but most insurers, like Craig’s, cover the treatment. “It’s a painless process, there’s really nothing to it. I’m in and out in 15 minutes and I can go back to work,” he said. Besides prostate cancer, this type of treatment is also very effective on brain, head & neck, breast, lung and esophageal tumors, and is a preferred modality for children with cancer. There are only nine proton therapy centers in all of the United States right now, but another seven are on the way.

Source: http://www.sundayadelajablog.com/proton-therapy-destroys-cancer-not-the-patient/


Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality has shown to be the best choice for many patients with cancer.


10-year-old Annabelle Higgins from Ramsgate, UK is recovering from a tumor in her brain after travelling to Oklahoma, USA for proton beam therapy. She was one of 140 people funded by the NHS to go overseas for the treatment last year.

Annabelle was diagnosed with a brain tumor called pilocytic astrocytoma in June 2012. During her operation in July 2012, surgeons were able to remove 98% of the tumor, but they had to leave a bit of it as it was right on the brain stem. “They hoped the blood supply to the remaining sliver would be cut off and it would wither and die, unfortunately in January 2015 we were given the sad news that it had not occurred”, her dad Stephen said. Anabelle underwent another operation in March 2015, where they discovered that part of the tumor had grown into the brain stem. Her case was then reviewed and her family were told she seemed to fit the criteria for proton therapy, which only about 1% of patients fit. “We had to go through a funding panel at the NHS because treatment is done abroad – we got agreement and we were sent to one of the overseas centres in Oklahoma City”, Stephen said. The family travelled to America in June 2015 for 10 weeks. During treatment, Annabelle was more tired than usual and lost some hair, but apart from that was able to carry on as normal.  She said: “You have a mask on, then you lay on a special table and there is a big machine and a beam which points at a specific area where the tumor would be and it zaps it.” She continued : “I’m now putting the past behind me and trying to forget about it all and look forward.”

Source: http://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet/news/girl-becomes-one-of-the-80378/



In 2010, mom-of-four Sara Bell refused radiotherapy for her only son, Brandon, who had been diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called craniopharyngioma at just 12 years old. She opted for a more advanced form of treatment against her doctor’s advice.

Sara was a student radiographer at the time and knew proton therapy would result in far fewer

side-effects for Brandon going forward. When she was told he wasn’t eligible for the procedure in the UK due to his age, Sara and her husband managed to fundraise the 200,000£ needed to have him treated at a specialist center in Florida. Brandon is now a healthy, 18-year-old college student, but it wasn’t always easy for Sara : “I have to admit I did doubt myself, but I knew in my heart I was doing the right thing. It was a huge weight on my shoulders because it was really my decision at the start, and I had knowledge of it.” Now, Brandon is doing well. His side-effects are manageable and he’s able to live a normal life. “He’s currently in second year of an HND in electronic engineering. He does suffer from really bad fatigue but he just looks like a normal, healthy boy. The type of tumor he has will never go away but there’s been no regrowth since the proton therapy”, Sara said. “We’ll never know what would have happened had Brandon got radiotherapy instead but there are a number of people with this type of tumor who have a lot of side-effects”, she added. “I hope that one day, whether you’re an adult or a child, everybody gets the chance of having the best possible treatment available and the opportunity to survive.”

Source: https://www.sundaypost.com/in10/health/proton-therapy-was-the-right-way-to-treat-my-brandon-says-mother/



When sexagenarian Jeff Olson got the news that he had stage 1 prostate cancer after a routine exam that revealed a high PSA level, he was really scared, but he didn’t lay down arms and started researching treatment options.

“The first words out of my urologist’s mouth were, ‘I can cut it out robotically and there will be no problems,’” Jeff said. “But I did my research and learned that involved a lot of side effects, among them potential incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Then someone asked if I had ever heard of proton therapy. Most doctors I spoke to hadn’t heard of it.” He thus started doing research and learned about ProCure, the Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City. That’s where he decided to receive his treatment, as his half-sister lives just 6 minutes from there. His prostate cancer involved 44 treatments – the largest number of treatments for any of the specific types of cancer, which were given during 5 minutes, 5 days a week for 9 weeks. When he was receiving his treatment in Oklahoma, there were patients from England, Canada and all over the United States. He underwent the 9 weeks and graduated from the treatment program on New Year’s Eve, along with a group of other cancer patients that included men, women and children with a long list of cancer types that can be treated with this type of therapy. What was really exciting about the treatment was that there were no side effects, and it was covered by insurance. Cancer-free after the procedures, he would need to send in his PSA level three months later, and then again in another 6 months, whith no other follow-up needed.

Source: http://www.themountainmail.com/free_content/article_2c2de686-cf55-11e5-8b0e-7fc1c17f7e28.html



Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is allowing patients to enjoy their lives and make plans for the future.


Indiana Corr-Day was diagnosed with cancer last December, after doctors discovered an astrocytoma glioma tumor in her brainstem. Her family are now hoping to raise £4,000 to fly her to America for pioneering brain cancer treatment.

Indiana’s diagnosis came from her being unable to grip a pen properly. Her mom said: “That was the thing we couldn’t really get our heads around, the fact she didn’t have any real symptoms such as headaches or blackouts”. The little girl underwent surgery in the new year to remove most of the tumor, but the next stage of her treatment involves pioneering proton therapy at the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma. “Indiana was offered traditional radiotherapy, but it is quite intensive and there’s a chance it could damage her quality of life in the future”. Her mom thus launched an online appeal on Thursday to prepare for a 3-month trip to the States and get her specialized proton therapy. The appeal raised £1,000 in its first 24 hours and mother and daughter hope to make the trip in two weeks’ time. Indiana’s mom said: “The flights have been covered, but we’ll be out there for three months so the appeal is to help cover general costs. The fact it has raised just over £1,000 already shows the generosity of residents, and I’d like to thank everybody who has donated. It means so much to us all.”

Source: http://www.clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk/news/south_essex_news/14244134.Canvey_family_aim_to_raise___4_000_for_8_year_old_s_life_saving_treatment_in_America/



Joe and Joyce Hampton, age 75 and 72 respectively, didn’t expect to be both diagnosed with cancer, let alone go through the same medical treatment to fight it.

Joe was diagnosed first with prostate cancer. It was devastating news for the couple, especially since they both enjoy being physically active, traveling the country and volunteering in Redding, California, where they have been living for 35 years. After Joe discussed various treatments with his oncologist, he was told about the Scripps Proton Therapy Center in San Diego, where he could undergo a form of radiation that would be more precise and have fewer side effects. Being a former X-ray technician, Joe understood the benefits of proton therapy and was immediately on board. However, not long after he finished his treatment in November 2014, Joyce was diagnosed with cancer in her left breast. What made her case especially complicated is that she also has atrial fibrillation of the heart. Since the organs affected were both on the left side, she knew she needed to go through accurate treatment. “I didn’t want radiation getting the heart,” she said. And after seeing Joe go through his treatment, she immediately agreed to receive proton therapy, which she began in February 2015 and finished in less than three weeks. She said she also didn’t want to deal with all the skin burns that came with radiation therapy. Now, she just has a discolored area. “We were really pleased with it,” Joyce said. They both had follow-up appointments in November, and according to Joe, doctors said they’re both doing “outstanding.”

Source: http://www.redding.com/news/local/redding-couple-with-cancer-goes-through-same-treatment-ep-1405938403-361891031.html



Bill Sneddon of Toms River, New Jersey is a 71-year-old former police chief who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. Now thriving and active in his community, he is spreading the word about proton therapy.

Bill Sneddon has worked with his township police department for 34 years, serving as chief for 22 years. Being active and part of the community is just in his DNA, and now retired and with his three children all grown up, he spends a lot of time pursuing his many hobbies. Bill was thus very shocked when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. When he discussed his options with his urologist, he was really nervous that the side effects of radiation therapy could slow him down. But then Bill learned about proton therapy from a close friend, who encouraged him to look into it. After conducting his own research and receiving support from his local urologist, he felt it was the right option for him. At 71 years old, Bill is now a proud graduate of ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset and he couldn’t be happier. “It was like a five-star hotel for me,” he said, “I actually looked forward to going to the center every day for treatment.” He has now become a “ProCure Patient Ambassador” to educate other men about proton therapy as an option. His messages include: “Do your research,” “become an empowered patient” and “find a caring and supportive community.” Today Bill feels wonderful and is back to his active lifestyle. His PSA reading is 0,2, exactly the same as it was since the end of his treatment. “You can’t get any lower than that,” he said.

Source: http://patch.com/new-jersey/tomsriver/retired-police-chief-praises-proton-therapy-prostate-cancer