Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope and revealing the strength of cancer patients.


Megan Pratt, a 12-year-old girl from Hull, UK is scheduled to undergo cancer treatment in the US in a bid to save her sight, after she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor that was initially mistaken for a tooth abscess.

Megan’s left cheek began swelling shortly before Christmas. Believing the source of the problem was in her mouth, her GP advised Megan’s parents to take her to the dentist. Unfortunately, further tests revealed it was a malignant tumor in the left side of her cheek. “It was about the size of a golf ball and it also covered both the inside and outside of her mouth,” her dad said. “We all felt as though we had hit rock bottom. But Megan is legend. Nothing fazes her. She is reading up on the type of therapy she will receive out there.” Megan immediately started a course of powerful chemotherapy, and continues to travel to the hospital in Leeds every three weeks for treatment. Conventional radiotherapy has been ruled out, as it blasts the surrounding area and might destroy her sight, and the preferred course of treatment in her case is proton therapy. This treatment is not currently available in the UK, but Megan’s tumor is on the NHS list of cancers that can be referred abroad, and she will be able to travel to Oklahoma next month to be treated.  The family is now halfway towards raising £3,000, which will be used to cover general costs incurred during the expected eight to ten-week stay in Oklahoma. Megan will also need 6 to 12 months of chemotherapy when she returns to the UK. Visit www.justgiving.com and search for “Ken Pratt” to make a donation.

Source: http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Doctors-thought-Megan-Pratt-12-west-Hull-tooth/story-28987564-detail/story.html



Sam Kell is a 14-year-old boy from Michigan, USA suffering from brain cancer, but above all, he’s a kid who wants to play basketball. And nothing, not even cancer, is going to stop him.

When Sam began to have double vision last November, he went to the hospital to get an MRI. But what was supposed to be a simple checkup turned out to be much more, as he was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain. “It’s been my worst nightmare. When this whole thing started. “Sam’s mother recalls. But since that day, the healing process and continued fight have prevailed. Support from surrounding communities poured in for Sam and his family. A packed gym for Sam’s first love, basketball, was one event to help prove that tragedy can bring out the best in humanity. Sam had a night to remember as players of the University of Oakland included him in all the festivities. For one night, he could forget about his fight with this disease. Sam has already undergone brain surgery and six weeks of proton therapy in Chicago. He has now made it back in the game, proving once again that the power of sports cannot be underestimated. “The entire time he went through proton therapy in Chicago, every single day he asked to go to the gym to play basketball,” his mom said. “This is the best possible outcome for walking into brain surgery and all that was unknown. For him to be on a basketball court right now is incredible,” she added. The Kells are now taking this day-by-day, and that their goal each day, is to smile as much as possible.

Source:  http://www.wxyz.com/sports/sam-kell-battles-cancer-using-basketball-as-a-focus-inspires-hope-to-others



Jennifer Arrington, a 28 year-old mom pregnant with her second son, is also fighting against cancer. The genie of the Dawson’s foundation arranged her a week of pampering, to give her a break before she begins PT in Jacksonville.

Jennifer was diagnosed last December with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancerous tumor of the body’s soft tissue. In her case, the mass was in her sinus cavity. The diagnosis is particularly rare in adults and during pregnancy. She has been receiving chemotherapy and she and her baby son are regularly monitored. So far, both are doing well. A c-section is scheduled on April 28, and soon after that she will move to Jacksonville for 3 or 4 months of treatment at the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute. The family is fundraising to pay the $1,300 a month rent. Earlier this month, when Jennifer thought she was visiting Subaru of Jacksonville to talk about her journey as a pregnant woman battling cancer, the blue genie in the red suit appeared. Also known as Joshua Dawson, the genie of the Dawson’s foundation had arranged a whirlwind week of “fun and pampering.” Jennifer was stunned, thrilled and touched. The foundation had posted on Facebook that it was seeking inspirational people to pamper. The goal for the recipient, the genie said, is to give people like her a break, if only for a week, from their struggle. “It’s about living in the moment,” he said.

Source: http://jacksonville.com/news/health-and-fitness/2016-03-15/story/genie-bestows-surprise-jacksonville-vacation-pregnant-woman


Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is offering young cancer patients a new chance at life.


Lauren Uncles, a 13-year-old schoolgirl from Burton, UK underwent a lifesaving operation after a brain tumor was spotted growing behind her eye by her optician.
Lauren was 11 years old when her family decided to treat her to a pair of prescription sunglasses for their upcoming summer holiday. That’s when her optician spotted something unusual. “Halfway through the appointment, the optician said he could see ‘a bit of swelling’ but obviously we know now he could see a lot more”, her mom said. “I wasn’t panicking after what the optician said but we took her to the hospital to have a doctor take a look. I didn’t begin to worry until they pulled her out of the MRI and said she needed to be injected with contrast and go in again.” Following the two scans, doctors pulled the mom aside to say that Lauren had a benign type of brain tumor called craniopharyngioma on her optic nerve and that she needed surgery to remove it. Now 13, Lauren has gone under the knife 4 times and underwent proton therapy in a bid to treat the tumor. However, doctors say they will never be able to remove it properly. Instead, the pretty teen has to keep her brown locks shorn short, because she has a cyst growing on the lump that needs to regularly be drained to stop crippling headaches. Despite it all, her mom Teresa says her little girl has never stopped smiling and is proud of her scars and short hair. “Lauren’s tumor will probably never go away, but at least it’s controlled and Lauren’s happy. She’s back to her normal, smiley self and I couldn’t be luckier for that.”

Source: http://www.real-fix.com/health/a-trip-to-the-optician-saved-this-schoolgirls-life/


Beth Semikin, a 22-year-old woman from the UK, is battling a rare form of cancer called sarcoma. She has decided to “take ownership” of her hair with a drastic color change before she loses it to chemotherapy. 

Beth was diagnosed last year with one of the rarest forms of sarcoma called epithelioid sarcoma, which affects young adults between 20 and 39 years old and left her barely able to walk. She had an 11-hour operation to remove the tumor from her back, and then went to the USA for proton beam therapy. For five days a week over nearly three months, she received her treatment in Jacksonville, Florida, returning to her Woodmansterne home in the UK in early February. “My time in America was amazing,” said Beth. “I never would have thought I would want to repeat any of my cancer treatment, but I can say with my hand on my heart I would do it ten times again.” Beth has now begun 18 weeks of chemotherapy. After her first dose, she had a violent reaction causing intense nausea and dizziness and pain to her bladder. “It’s about realising that sometimes there’s no fighting through the day, it’s just about getting through it,” she said. Within the coming weeks, her blonde locks will begin to fall out, but she is accepting of the side effect. She asked for a hairdresser to dye her hair silver and dozens of salons reached out to help her. Beth described it as the “best day I’ve had in forever”. “It was important for me to take ownership of this hair loss.” Beth, who has a good recovery prognosis, continues to detail her moving experiences and raising awareness about sarcoma on her blog Tumour Has It.

Source: http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/Beth-Semikin-hair/story-28926396-detail/story.html


A community in Washington is rallying to the support of a single mom of four, as her 7-year-old son Masen Lopes is battling the same type of brain cancer that killed her husband. 

Masen’s dad passed away 3 years ago after a 2-year battle against brain cancer that had grown undetected until he suffered a seizure at home. Months after his dad’s death, it was Masen’s turn to not feel well. “He had drool on the side of his mouth, his eyes just didn’t look normal,” his mom said. “And it was something I’d seen through my husband.” Since his brain cancer diagnosis, Masen has had 4 surgeries, 2 rounds of chemotherapy and 2 rounds of proton therapy. His energetic spirit has the Gig Harbor community rallying around the family, and later this month, they’re throwing him an “epic sleepover” so he can play with friends, just like other kids. “We try and live life without cancer,” his mom said. “Even though it’s basically surrounded us, we just try and live how normal people do.” She has been told the cancer isn’t genetic, and she doesn’t talk about a prognosis. “I don’t believe a person is a statistic,” she said. “So I don’t ask. And I don’t tell them either, although you get the picture. It’s brain cancer, no cure.” Even though the disease is prevalent in their daily lives, they don’t think of themselves as a cancer family. They are a normal family facing extraordinary challenges.

Source: http://abc7ny.com/society/community-rallies-behind-boy-battling-same-cancer-that-killed-his-father/1240246/


Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping children and young adults from all over the world fight against cancer.


Abbie Dunn, a 22-year-old girl from Fishguard, UK will travel to the United States in May to undergo proton beam therapy on her rare brain tumor thanks to the incredible response to her fundraising campaign.

Abbie was diagnosed with a walnut-sized craniopharyngioma in May 2013. She underwent a 10-hour surgery the following October to remove part of the tumor, but she was told in February this year that the tumor had started to grow again. She was advised that the best course of treatment would be to travel to the United States for proton beam therapy, not yet available in the UK. “Abbie has learnt to accept what has happened and copes well with everything that is thrown at her,” said her mom Helen. “We have put in an application to the NHS to fund her medical expenses; however like other families in this situation the financial pressure we are facing is huge.” The family launched their Just Giving fundraising page on February 28, with a basic target of £10,000, and that amount was soon exceeded thanks to generous donations from the public, local businesses and fundraising events. Helen said: “My family and I are so overwhelmed at the kindness, support and donations we have received. We set up the Just Giving page for three reasons; firstly to raise awareness for this rare disease, secondly to raise money to support Abbie on her journey, and finally we are hoping to raise enough money to support other families who are also heading out to the USA for proton beam therapy.” Abbie and her family will hopefully be heading out to the US in May. If you would like to make a donation, visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/abbie You can also leave her messages of support.

Source: http://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/news/14327936.Fishguard_girl__22__to_get_pioneering_treatment_for_rare_brain_tumour/



8-year-old Harrison Brailsford from the UK needs proton therapy for his Ewing’s sarcoma. His mom and dad are fighting to raise about £11,000 so their family can travel to America for the life-saving treatment.

Harrison was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma last November, a cancer found in bone or soft tissue. “One Friday Harrison had a pain in his leg and by Sunday he couldn’t put any weight on it and had a high temperature – a week before he had been cross-country running and swimming,” tells his dad. “Our world fell apart when we were told, you just don’t expect it.” As doctors said surgery was too risky due to the tumor location near the spine, Harrison had 4 courses of chemotherapy with another due at the beginning of March. Now, the only course of action left is proton therapy, which targets a precise beam of protons at a tumor to destroy it. Harrison will have to be in America for about 8 to 10 weeks, and on his return to Britain, he will need to have 7 more chemotherapy courses. The treatment is being funded by the NHS, which is also paying for travel and accommodation. However, his parents are anxious to take their daughters Madison, 10, and Megan, 4, with them. “We would like go to America as a family to be with Harrison while he has his proton therapy but obviously finding the money to do this is quite difficult,” his dad said. “Every little bit of money raised will be a great help and if there is anything left over we will donate it to Ward 27, the children’s cancer ward at Leicester Royal Infirmary.” Friends of the family have set up a website to help raise the cash. For more information and to make a donation, visit: http://help4harrison.com/.

Source: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Race-raise-funds-help-family-lad-needing-proton/story-28815640-detail/story.html



Benjamin Carter, a brave 11-year-old schoolboy from the UK, has started a specialist cancer treatment in the US on Monday, which is not yet available in his country.

Benjamin suffers from rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a type of cancer that affects the muscle tissue in his larynx. He was diagnosed 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 was then referred to a hospital in London, where he started chemotherapy in November. Ben is now receiving treatment at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute. He flew out to the US on February 15 to undergo proton therapy every day from Monday to Friday in 28 sessions and irradiate diseased tissue. He will remain in Florida until April 25, along with his mom and 3-year-old sister. His dad has just returned to the UK for work. His mom said: “We tried to make it feel more like a holiday to start with, because now he has started the treatment, he will go downhill. He will get to the stage where he cannot feed himself or swallow. Ben’s still petrified of the treatment because I can’t go in the room with him because of the radiation. It’s a totally new experience, but I’m hoping it will become easier. We’ve tried to make it as normal as possible, but I think it will be a culture shock now that his dad’s gone.” To donate to Ben, visit www.gofundme.com/zktgee7w – the money will be used to make the trip as comfortable as possible for the 11-year-old. And to follow his journey, visit his blog at tinyurl.com/je4f5tv.

Source: http://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/Benington-schoolboy-starts-specialist-cancer/story-28846627-detail/story.html



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 grown men regain control of their life.


Louis Ackers, an 8-year-old boy from the UK whose brain tumor was misdiagnosed for a year and a half, has been flown to the US for proton therapy treatment after going blind in one eye.

The family first became alarmed at his condition early in 2014. His doctors could not explain what was causing his daily headaches, mid-day sleeping and lack of growth, as his neuro exam was normal. It was only last August, when he lost sight in his right eye, that an IRM was ordered and revealed a large mass at the base of his Louis’s brain. “I felt like someone had shattered my family into tiny little pieces and then run me over with a truck,” his mom said. The tumor was suppressing his pituitary gland, explaining why he hadn’t grown 1 cm within a year, and was sitting on the optic nerve, causing blindness. Louis underwent a highly risky five-and-a-half hour operation to remove as much of the tumor as possible from behind his right eye. “Louis recovered from the surgery like a superhero; he is our very own little superman,” his mom said. Louis is now receiving 10 weeks of proton beam therapy in Florida in the US, funded by the NHS, to prevent the tumor from re-growing. The family, including his mom, dad and two sisters, are due back from Florida this month. A fundraising campaign raised £25,000 to cover their living costs. It costs the NHS about £78,000 to send a child to Florida for treatment. Two NHS centers will offer proton therapy in the UK from 2018.

Source: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/boy-flies-to-us-for-proton-therapy-after-losing-sight-in-right-eye-a3192431.html



Dan Stasi, 65 years old, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 and was told he had three options: wait and see, have surgery or undergo radiation.

As he was on blood thinners for a blood clot in his leg, surgery was too risky. Fortunately, soon after his diagnosis, one of his friends suggested proton therapy. “When I first heard that I was diagnosed with cancer, I thought it was a death sentence,” he said. “Then, I heard about proton therapy, and everything changed.” Dan went to the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center in Warrenville. By using scans, Dan’s tumor was located and a small dot was tattooed on his body. The dot was used to line him up for treatments, which lasted nine weeks. During that time, Stasi was able to work full-time at his job. “I was able to leave home and be at the center in less than an hour,” he said. “During treatments, I didn’t feel a thing. Each treatment lasted two or three minutes, and it took me about 10 minutes to change in and out of my clothes. I had one of the first appointments of the day at 8 a.m., and I was out of there by 8:15.” When he finished his 9 weeks of treatment, the medical staff at the proton center threw him a party. Dan said he hopes other cancer patients choose proton therapy or at least consider it as one of their options. Now 65 years old, has been cancer-free for more than five years. He has a follow-up exam once a year and a blood test every six months.

Source: http://www.midweeknews.com/articles/2016/02/29/5440a4d96bc04f95905682f6fc5b0699/index.xml



Mike Kastl wants to spread the word: men can survive prostate cancer. He was diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer in 2009, and as he did not want to have a conventional surgery procedure or radiation, he chose a non-invasive type of treatment.

Mike underwent proton therapy at the ProCure Center in Oklahoma City. At the time, in August 2009, he was the first prostate patient to get treatment at the center, which had just opened. A beam was shot into his hip and changed to the other hip every other day for 44 treatments, and he didn’t feel a thing. Now Mike shares his success stories with other patients at ProCure. “I’m a proton preacher. I believe in it,” he said. “It’s the real deal. They’ve been super good and highly professional.” His doctor at ProCure says there are several everyday efforts, simple screenings and tests that can help with early diagnosis and prevention. Men over 50 should discuss regular screenings with their doctor. For men at higher risk, these conversations should take place at age 40 or 45. Regular screenings and monitoring the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) are among the most effective ways to detect prostate cancer in a curable stage. Obesity and poor diet can increase the risk of diagnosis. Studies have found that obese men are more likely to be diagnosed with a more aggressive form of prostate cancer than men at a healthy weight. The best diet and activity recommendations for reducing the risk of prostate cancer are to eat at least 2,5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day, be physically active and maintain a healthy weight.

Source: http://www.edmondsun.com/news/kastl-healed-of-prostate-cancer-now-a-believer-in-proton/article_e7b97cd8-dcef-11e5-b99b-eb6f12230ff0.html