Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping cancer patients beating the odds and take back control over their life.
PROTON THERAPY GIVES YOUNG GIRL HOPE
Izabella Phoenix Voelker or “Bella”, a 12-year-old girl from Iowa, USA, has been given a new lease on life thanks to proton therapy an her love for whales, after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor called “pineoblastoma” last May.
When she was diagnosed, Bella was given a prognosis so grim that she prepared a will, just in case. Provided she did survive the surgeries, there would still be a lengthy list of possible complications afterward, including brain bleeding, stroke, total loss of hearing, double vision, and other difficulties. But last May, she remarkably came through an 8-hour procedure without any major complications. Her next hurdle required a trip to San Diego for 8 weeks of proton therapy to eradicate the cancer cells that could not be removed during surgery. Funded largely by the generosity of donations from classmates, church groups and individuals from her hometown, she was able to enjoy several sightseeing side trips made between treatments with her family. Bella’s favorite was Sea World, and the sea life amusement park became a refuge from her grating treatment schedule. Taken under the wing of Sea World staff, she was given special access to whale training sessions and other behind-the-scenes activities. Now moving on from proton treatment, she is slated to begin several rounds of intense chemotherapy treatments in the coming days. Though her chances of survival have increased substantially to this point, the upcoming treatments still carry potential risks, including the potential loss of fertility. “I’m a fighter. Has it been hard? Yes. But everyone — my family, friends, doctors — has been so supportive. And it’s nice to have everyone on my side.”
FORMER CANCER PATIENT VOLUNTEERS TO GIVE BACK
Felton Morris, a former ProCure Proton Therapy Center patient who went through prostate cancer treatment in 2015, now acts as a volunteer ambassador for the center to help patients face the disease.
“When you are facing prostate cancer, it is good to have a friend who understands”, he says. “I talk to a lot of men. Some are scared. They have horror stories to tell. They need somebody to talk to. They can talk to me. I have gone through it.” Because seeing a survivor do well is encouraging to those who still have the journey ahead of them. Felton remembers his own diagnosis : he had gone in for a routine check, and as an African-American male he had a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. During his physical the doctor noticed a higher than usual prostate-specific antigen level. More tests followed and finally the doctor handed him the diagnosis. “When you hear the word ‘cancer’ it is associated with death. You think of your family. You think of the things you didn’t accomplish,” he said. But there was still plenty to accomplish. Felton began considering his options and eventually visited with a nurse at ProCure in Oklahoma City. They spent a long time discussing the treatment and she answered his questions one by one. “This treatment just doesn’t damage your body as much. You don’t have your rectum burn up. You don’t have your bladder burn up. You continue to go on with life,” Felton said. While some of the preliminary procedures to get ready for his proton treatment were a little uncomfortable, the actual treatment was painless. A few months later he is still feeling great, but he now spends a lot of his free time supporting patients just like him.
Source : http://newsok.com/article/5516314
LIFE AFTER CANCER TREATMENT
Brave little Freya Bevan, a 4-year-old girl from the UK who has been battling cancer for 2 years, has come a long way since she was diagnosed with a PNET tumor in 2014.
Freya was diagnosed when she was just 2 years old and underwent numerous operations and chemotherapy sessions over the course of last year. When the NHS told the family they would not be able to fund the lifesaving proton beam therapy treatment in America she needed, they set about raising the funds themselves, capturing the attention of Wales. Since ending that treatment, Freya has started at nursery and is now thriving as she has recently begun going to school full time. She was also named as the Carnival Princess at the annual Neath Round Table’s Carnival in July earlier this year. Her mom Katherine said Freya’s last check-up was during the summer holidays, and that she was doing well. “We last had a check-up in June and her doctor said everything was looking well and that there were no changes,” she said. “She’s just a little bundle of energy. She’s always running around and she’s just so happy every day.”