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


Taya Phillips, a 3-year-old girl from the UK fighting cancer for the second time, has been offered life-saving treatment in America. She was diagnosed with cancer in June after previously fighting the disease when she was only 4-months-old.

Taya has rhabdomyosarcoma, which is the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma in children, even if only 60 children are diagnosed each year in the UK. This month, Taya’s mom Laura was told the heartbreaking news that surgery was not an option because the area was too big to treat. Fortunately, 2 days later, Taya was offered life-saving treatment in Oklahoma. The NHS is funding her treatment, as patients who require proton therapy for more specific tumors have been able to access treatment abroad since April 2008. Laura is a single mom, as Taya’s dad Terry died in November 2012 from oesophageal cancer. She will need to go to America for 10 weeks with Taya, which means she will be away from her other 3 daughters, Katy, 12, Lacey, 8, Layla-Terri, 4, over Christmas. That is why her family and friends have set up a fund to raise money for the 3 children to be supported at home and to fly to America at Christmas with one of their grandparents. Writing on Facebook, her mom said: “I’ve pinched myself a million times to check I’m not dreaming. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for this opportunity. Thanks to the amazing people who made this possible. You have given my family so much more than therapy; you have given us a future as a family.”

Source: http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/14819944.Life_saving_treatment_offered_in_America_for_three_year_old/



The family of Freddie Hunt, a 2-year-old from the UK who suffers from an incurable brain tumor, need to raise £100,000 for specialist proton therapy treatment in Jacksonville, Florida. Their community has surrounded them with their support. 

“Once he started to walk I noticed that increasingly he was having episodes of unawareness, in which he appeared distressed,” his mom Abby said. “These were increasing rapidly and although they only lasted 15 seconds, he would have one every 10 minutes. So at the next appointment we took him in to a paediatrician and he had 3 of these episodes in front of him.” When an MRI scan showed a large mass in on Freddy’s pituitary gland, his parents felt powerless, as the doctors told them the tumor was inoperable, and radiation and/or chemo were not exempt from side effects. Until they discovered proton therapy: “Time is something we feel we don’t have and his quality of life is poor. So proton beam therapy for rare brain tumors in Jacksonville, Florida, seems to be the place everyone has successfully taken their children, with a great success rate.” However, the family has to raise £100,000 to pay for Freddie’s treatment. Last Thursday, his mom went on the Yateley Community Facebook site to ask people to look for a shooting star and make a wish for Freddie. “I never imagined what that simple message would start. Within an hour I had over 300 comments,” she said. “Everyone has been so kind and genuine. Someone set up a crowd funding page and from there it’s gone crazy.” Hundreds of people have so far chipped in to raise more than £5,000. “Whatever the outcome of this terrible situation, good or bad, myself and my family will never forget the amazing support and the chance they are giving us to get treatment for our Freddie, whom we love dearly.”

Source: http://www.gethampshire.co.uk/news/local-news/community-raises-more-5000-yateley-12083356



Over the past 20 months, Virginia Palmer, a 51-year-old mother of two, has learned just how strong she was, after being diagnosed in April 2015 with stage 2A invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer.

“I have fiber cystic breasts, and at the time I had a lump in both my left and right breast. The one on my left went away, but the one on my right stayed,” Virginia said. After a mammogram, sonogram and biopsy confirmed the worst, she began chemotherapy that May. “I underwent 16 rounds of chemo, lost all of my hair and all of my strength. My family and friends would try to encourage me by telling me sickly is the new sexy.” She also underwent a lumpectomy in October, and started proton therapy treatment at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute shortly after. Throughout her treatment, Virginia continued to work part time as a patient relations representative at UF Health North. “This experience makes me better at my job because I know how difficult it can be for our patients,” she said. “I want them to know if they get this diagnosis, it’s time to fight for your life. I also want people to know how important it is to get a mammogram.” Doctors declared Virginia cancer-free after her lumpectomy, but it wasn’t until her 6-month mammogram appointment that she believed them. “You have faith, but you just don’t know,” she said. “When you see there is nothing there with your own eyes, then you can finally breathe.” Virginia’s thick hair is slowly growing back, and her scars are starting to fade. She is thankful and lives each day with deep gratitude that only comes from being pushed to the edge and not giving up.

Source: http://ufhealthjax.org/news/story.aspx?id=1614




Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is spreading hope and arousing solidarity all over the world


After Susie Austin was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago and underwent a lumpectomy to beat the disease, she didn’t think she would hear the word cancer for a second time. But she received the bad news again in 2015.

“In March 2015, I found a small lump in my breast, but I figured it was probably just tissue changing and hardening from the radiation six years ago,” she said. Susie’s first cancer was a small ductal breast cancer, but this time, the tumor was about 7 cm large and already at stage IV. The tumor was to big to operate so doctors put her on chemotherapy to shrink it, and could remove it in January. Radiation was also recommended, and as she couldn’t have the traditional treatment because she already had dit for her first cancer, she was advised to chose proton therapy, a more precise form of radiation. She decided to go to the Texas Center for Proton Therapy. The waiting area was often filled with children because proton therapy is beneficial to patients whose bodies are still developing. When Susie was undergoing her 20th treatment, her husband heard a 2-year-old girl ask her mother if the treatment was going to hurt. Then she asked if she was going to die. “It broke my husband’s heart,” Susie said. “We got home and he said, ‘We are doing something for these kids.’” That’s when the Courageous Kids Project was born. The idea is simple: to provide children with toys and games to distract them while awaiting treatment. The organization should be fully established as a nonprofit by the 30th of this month. Susie added, “You always ask what you can do and how you can give back, and this was our answer.”

Source: http://www.dallasnews.com/sponsored/sponsored/2016/10/16/susie-austin-two-time-cancer-survivor-ready-help-kids-fight



Betty Gann, 74, was born in Rutledge, USA in 1941. She’s been battling various types of cancer for about 20 years, but her most recent cancer diagnosis was detected in a lymph node in her neck.

As Betty has reached the recommended limit for chemotherapy and radiation therapy due to previous treatments for lung cancer, leukemia and tonsil cancer, doctors told her that proton therapy was her only treatment option. She is currently receiving proton therapy treatments at the Provision Center for Proton Therapy Cancer Treatment Center, located in West Knoxville. “They call my mother the miracle case because she has had cancer four times now,” Betty’s daughter said. “She beat it 3 times, and has had a heart attack. She is a strong and inspiring woman.” Betty’s insurance is covering 90% of the cost for 35 proton therapy treatments, leaving a total of $7,500 for the family to pay out-of-pocket. She is considered to be in a “critical state,” and needs to remain close to the treatment center. Her apartment near the center costs $2,000 per month. On Saturay, a benefit fish fry and bake sale raised $1,500 for Betty. “We are so greatful. The funds raised today will be used for my mom’s medication, transportation and housing,” her daughter said.

Source: http://www.graingertoday.com/2016/10/19/fish-fry-to-benefit-rutledge-resident/



Harvey Mountain, a brave 11-year-old from the UK, will be one of just a handful of children sent to the US to get state-of-the-art proton therapy treatment for a rare type of brain tumor.

The young boy first had surgery 2 years ago for a craniopharyngioma, a rare tumor that grows at the base of the brain just above the pituitary gland. After doctors discovered the tumor had reoccurred, proton beam therapy was deemed to be the best treatment. Harvey will spend his 12th birthday in the US while he undergoes 12 weeks of specialist therapy in Jacksonville, Florida. The NHS is building 2 proton beam centers in London and Manchester, but they are not expected to be open until 2018. The NHS is thus is paying £80,000 for Harvey’s treatment in the US after doctors decided it was the best option for him. However, a fundraising campaign has been launched after the family realized they needed more money to pay for living costs in the US and bills back home so they can be at Harvey’s side. His mom said: “He will have treatment from Monday to Friday out there. He might become a bit poorly and lose his hair. We won’t know how well it’s worked until he comes home and has a scan 3 months after the treatment. We’re hoping the proton beam treatment kills the tumour.” Harvey left for America on October 23rd with his dad Neil, whose employer has launched a crowdfunding web page to raise funds for the family. Donations can be made by searching Friends@ West Yorkshire Windows on the www.justgiving.com website.

Source: http://www.wakefieldexpress.co.uk/news/brave-harvey-to-be-treated-in-usa-for-rare-brain-tumour-1-8180201


Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is offering a new chance at life and giving hope to families from all over the world.


Victoria Calland, a 3-year-old girl from the UK battling a rare form of childhood cancer, is settling in well while receiving potentially life-saving proton therapy treatment in America.

After a tumor was discovered in her bile duct and she was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in June, Victoria had an operation to remove the tumor, but as some cancer cells still remained, she would also need to undergo several courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as proton therapy to rid her body of the cancer and prevent it from coming back. Victoria travelled to Jacksonville with her mom Jennifer last month to have proton therapy. Jennifer said: “The program that University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute has put together for their UK visitors is really good. Our apartment was ready and waiting for us, and car rental was arranged for pick up the next morning. We settled in very quickly. We’ve fallen into an actually enjoyable daily routine with the proton beam treatment”. Victoria is currently having proton beam therapy every week day and hasn’t been able to spend as much time going out and about as she wanted because her ability to fight infection has been at an all-time low due to the chemo. “Our daughter has one of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer, but we got lucky that it appeared in a place that caused problems right away so we were able to catch it early which gives her a great prognosis. “We got lucky to be able to participate in the NHS’s Proton Beam program which gives Victoria the very best chance against not only her cancer, but also against the lifelong debilitating side effects often associated with radiotherapy treatment. We are very much looking forward to completing Victoria’s proton beam therapy here and returning to a much quieter life in Wigan in mid-November.”

Source: http://www.wigantoday.net/news/local/victoria-is-looking-forward-to-home-1-8182481



Family and friends of Gabby Lara, an 18-year-old from Florence, USA who is fighting throat cancer, have organized a benefit this WE to help defray her treatment expenses.

Gabby graduated this year from Florence High School and CAVIT’s dental assistant program. She was a recreation leader for her town before going on leave after her throat cancer diagnosis this summer. Gabby is currently receiving both chemotherapy and proton therapy, which is more site-specific and does not do as much damage as traditional radiation. She is maintaining “a good spirit” through daily trips to the Valley for doctor appointments and treatments, and doctors are very positive about her outlook and say the condition is curable. The public was invited to a benefit for Gabby on October 15th. Her friends have also set up an account for her, which is accepting contributions under the name “Gabby Forever.” Her mom expressed her gratitude to the community who has generously offered all kinds of help, including housecleaning and help with Gabby’s other siblings, in recent weeks. “My heart is full,” she said.

Source: http://www.trivalleycentral.com/florence_reminder_blade_tribune/news/event-will-aid-local-woman-fighting-cancer/article_2a72a4bc-8b48-11e6-962a-b33be11c3d15.html



When he was 65, Bob Jones went to his doctor to do a prostate cancer screening after he had skipped it for a few years: “Sure enough, when I did do the PSA test they found something,” he said. “Anything above a 4 is bad. And I was a 7.9.”

A follow-up biopsy confirmed it was prostate cancer. Bob’s urologist offered several treatment options, but he wasn’t satisfied with any of them, and he decided to do his own research. “I knew there was some center over here in Somerset that had just opened, a proton therapy center,” he said. “I went and toured the center, met the people and decided this was the way I wanted to go.” He started his 44 treatment sessions in March of 2012 and finished in June. At every visit, he would sit in the waiting room with a dozen other men around his age, all of them required to drink 18 ounces of water out of a blue bottle as they awaited treatment. The water fills up the bladder, which conveniently moves it out of the way for the radiation beam to target the prostate. They gave themselves a nickname: The Brotherhood of the Blue Bottle. The treatment had few side effects, except for fatigue, and now Bob’s cancer is in total remission. He still is very close with the other men in the Brotherhood of the Blue Bottle, and when other patients finish their 44 rounds of treatment, the Center holds a small “graduation” ceremony for them, and Bob always tries to be there. “I go just to encourage them to stay positive. I go and say, ‘Just watch how well this works for you.’”

Source: http://patch.com/new-jersey/eastbrunswick/victory-over-prostate-cancer-north-brunswick-man


Protons ensured his voice

The sound of applause is strong and steady as James Waslaski wraps up another lecture. The clapping quiets as attendees eagerly approach him for some one-on-one time. James welcomes each with a warm smile and a caring voice.

It’s a voice James had feared would be silenced by throat cancer.

James travels throughout the world some 45 weekends a year speaking to sports physicians, sports trainers, physical therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and massage therapists. He teaches them about innovative approaches to muscle rehabilitation, pain management and holistic healing, and demonstrates pragmatic ways to treat musculoskeletal injuries that don’t involve surgery.

Trainers of professional athletes have put James’ insights and techniques into practice. Medical professionals who have completed 100 hours of training and have been certified in his orthopedic massage and pain management program have successfully treated people incapacitated for years by muscle injuries, James says.

“We’ve worked with people who haven’t been able to move their shoulders for years, for example,” he notes. “It’s a condition called frozen shoulder. People from around the world have gotten their shoulders treated nonsurgically.”

James developed and refined his musculoskeletal recovery and holistic healing techniques after many years of working as a paramedic. “I thought if we combined preventative medicine and nonsurgical rehabilitation, we’d have better outcomes,” he says.

For 20 years, James has taught these techniques to health care practitioners in the United States, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Australia, Europe and Asia. During his travels, James sustains the daily hour-long workout regimen he practices at the gym near his North Richland Hills, Texas, home to keep him fit and trim.

But the diagnosis of cancer in James’ throat upended the comfort and routine of his life. He had to undergo surgery to remove an enlarged lymph node first discovered by his massage therapist.

James remembers the day in July 2014: “When I woke up from surgery, I saw my wife praying with tears in her eyes. ‘You’ve got cancer,’ she said.”

James was stunned. He dwelled on the damage to his throat that the cancer — or cancer treatment — could cause.

“I thought my career was over,” he says. “I didn’t have a fear of dying — I’m close to God — but I did fear losing my livelihood and my ability to provide for my family.”

Doctors at MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center in Houston, Texas, put him at ease. They explained in detail how his vocal cords would be protected during treatments using proton beam radiation. “I was pleasantly surprised by the reassurance,” James says.

James waited until December 2014 to begin his treatments at MD Anderson. “I wanted to be sure my body and mind were in the right place,” he says. A longtime mentor reminded James of his own words that he often uses in his lectures: “Embrace the healing that you believe will heal your body, mind and spirit.”

James moved in with a friend in Houston for his two months of proton treatments. He worked out at the gym every day. “Every other weekend, I would travel and teach,” says James. “I would have a 4 a.m. proton session on Friday, take a 7 a.m. flight out and be back in Houston for another session Monday morning.”

He followed his doctors’ instructions and gargled with water and baking soda before and after each treatment. He said he drank about eight to ten bottles of high-pH water every day. And he stuck to the swallowing exercises he was taught by a speech therapist at MD Anderson.

“I’m sure that helped my esophagus,” he says. “There was no loss of taste, no inability to swallow. Some people had told me, ‘You might be on a feeding tube. You might lose your taste buds. You might lose 25 pounds.’ I gained weight in the end!”

His athletic frame filling out his jersey, James says, “At 60 years young, I am in the best emotional, energetic, spiritual and physical shape in my life.”




Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope and allowing cancer patients to raise awareness about this life-threatening disease.


Niamh Yates, a 16-year-old teenager from the UK who was diagnosed with an undifferentiated sarcoma on her lower spine when she was 12, took child cancer campaign Glow Gold September to the Scottish Parliament with her mom.  

Since her diagnosis, Niamh has undergone surgery, chemotherapy and then proton beam therapy in Florida. She has been in remission since November 2012, and her battle inspired her mom Julie to start campaigning for more support for children with cancer and their families. The Glow Gold September campaign, an international effort to help raise awareness, headed for Holyrood, and Julie and Niamh joined East Lothian MSP Iain Gray at the Scottish Parliament to watch a debate by MSPs who highlighted the campaign, its important messages about childhood cancer and the support needed by children and families affected by it. Julie said: “We want to improve the profile of childhood cancer in line with that of the more well-known adult cancers”. Mr Gray said he was delighted to meet up with Julie and Niamh at the Scottish Parliament. “Julie and the other campaigners have done a remarkable job promoting this campaign and helping to raise awareness about childhood cancer. Their hard work has helped to ensure the Glow Gold message has been heard loud and clear. I’ll continue to support the campaign and do all I can to help promote awareness about childhood cancer.

Source: http://www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/14778256.Tranent_mum_takes_child_cancer_battle_to_Holyrood/



Mac Holmes, a 60-year-old FedEx pilot, first heard the words “you have cancer” in 2012. But it was what came next that shocked him the most.

It started rather harmlessly with a small lump on his chest. “I wasn’t too worried because I have lumps all over my body and had been monitored by flight surgeons for years,” Mac said. This time was different: when Mac’s nipple started to invert, his wife urged him to have it checked out by a doctor. When he found out he had breast cancer, he was stunned, as male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancer cases. Mac had a mastectomy to remove his left breast, and additional surgery to remove his lymph nodes. Chemotherapy followed the surgery, along with more tests and a variety of different medications. After months of treatment, he received the news he had been waiting to hear ever since the original diagnosis: he was cancer free. But the relief was short lived: just 18 months later, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He received proton therapy before again being declared cancer free. “This was much easier than my breast cancer treatment,” Mac said. “We called my treatment ‘radiation vacation’ because we got to spend six weeks in Houston next to a golf course, visited the Houston Zoo and took day trips to the ocean.” Since then, Mac has been visiting his doctor for regular checkups, but unfortunately, his breast cancer has now reached metastasized stage 4. Through the course of his journey, he has become an advocate for breast cancer awareness and metastatic research. He continues to research and learn about breast cancer and metastasis in hopes of making a difference for others that are experiencing his fight.

Source: http://about.van.fedex.com/blog/male-breast-cancer/



63-year-old Lorenzo Abundiz was born to be a firefighter. Tall, strong and fearless, he spent 27 years in the fire service and earned a Medal of Valor for rescuing 2 firemen buried under a collapsed wall in 1990.

Lorenzo emerged from his 1990 rescue feeling invincible, but it all came crashing down 8 years later when he was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a rare and highly aggressive soft-tissue cancer that had been caused by his daring rescue. “The doctors told me I had a 4% chance of survival.” It took 30 days for Lorenzo’s personal insurance to approve a surgery to remove his tumor, but during this time, he grew a second tumor the size of a golf ball. It took two surgeries and extensive radiation, but Lorenzo beat leiomyosarcoma in September 2003. One month later, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. “My doctors asked if I had been a smoker and I said I’d never smoked a day in my life, but I’d breathed in a lot of smoke while standing on roofs to fight fires.” This led Lorenzo and his doctors to strongly suspect that this cancer, much like his first, was brought on by the toxic exposure all firefighters face on a daily basis. From his hospital bed, Lorenzo resolved to travel the country sharing his experiences at firehouses and created the nonprofit Code 3 for a Cure to raise awareness of occupational cancer. He continued his work with the foundation even through a third cancer battle, this time with prostate cancer in 2008. The following year, he underwent 6 months of treatment at MD Anderson’s Proton Therapy Center in Houston, Texas. The Houston fire department provided the veteran firefighter with housing for the duration of his treatment and helped him through his third cancer battle.

Source: http://people.com/human-interest/code-3-for-a-cure-cancer-survivor-helps-firefighters-with-cancer/


Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is providing new means of fighting cancer and giving hope to many patients worldwide.


Lara Willcox, a brave 2-year-old girl from the UK, is doing well in her incredible fight against a rare brain cancer, and has already received 12 rounds of proton therapy in the US, despite delays caused by a hurricane earlier this month.

Last August, Lara’s doctors discovered she had a grade 3 anaplastic ependymoma in her brain. After a 9-hour operation to remove the tumor, she crossed the Atlantic with her mom Aimee for life-saving proton therapy treatment in Jacksonville, USA. Her mom says she is taking each day in her stride: “Lara’s treatment is going really well but she has started to show signs of tiredness. Taking anaesthetic every day knocks her a bit but she does manage to pick herself up in the afternoon.” Aimee set up a GoFundMe page to cover some of the costs of her and Lara’s trip. Its £5,000 target has been surpassed and Aimee hopes further donations can be passed to charity. During their time in Jacksonville, the city was hit by Hurricane Hermine, and disruption caused by the storm has delayed some of Lara’s treatment. Her family hope they can return to the UK next month. “Coming out here for proton therapy will hopefully mean no chemotherapy but we haven’t been told anything for definite,” Aimee said. “We do know that she will need to have regular MRI scans for the next five or so years as the ependymoma has a high return rate. We are just keeping everything crossed that the proton therapy is the last major hurdle for her.”

Source: http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/lara-willcox-is-doing-well-in-cancer-battle-despite-hurricane-hermine-hitting-jacksonville/story-29744659-detail/story.html



Dr. Kimberley Hefner, an optometrist from Oklahoma city, is fighting against breast cancer. As a physician, she was familiar with the emotional and physical toll of a cancer journey, but facing her own diagnosis was a different experience.

Unfortunately, cancer runs in Kimberley’s family, as her grandmother and her aunt also had breast cancer, and her mother passed away at 49 from pancreatic cancer. Kimberley was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer after her doctor found a suspicious mass during a mammogram. “I skipped a year because I got too busy. So when I did go, they definitely did see something suspicious that needed to be biopsied. I never felt anything in a self-exam.” Once she had some time to cope with the diagnosis, she began contacting people who had gone through cancer treatment for referrals and guidance on treatment options. Ultimately, she underwent 16 weeks of chemo and 7 weeks of proton therapy at ProCure Proton Therapy Center, were she was part of a clinical study researching proton application for left-sided breast cancer in women over 50. With a focus on recovery and staying positive, Kimberley made it through her treatments, leaning on her family and faith, and emerged stronger on the other side. Even if she had to slow down during her treatments, she is now back at full capacity treating her own patients: “Now, here I am growing my practice when I was thinking I may not survive.”

Source: http://newsok.com/article/5519977



Jami Mitchell is a single mom full of energy and even if a struggle with heart valve disease a few years ago couldn’t temper her spirit, being diagnosed with breast cancer last year was a different story.

Cancer was found after Jami had gone in for a mammogram. “I get a mammogram every year,” she said. “In 2014 it was normal. In 2015, they noticed some calcification.” A biopsy revealed ductal carcinoma. However, because of her heart condition, doctors told her that she could not undergo standard breast cancer treatment such as traditional radiation therapy. Jami called her sister Michelle for help: “Jami had cancer in her left breast, over her heart, and she had a severely deteriorating heart valve. My first call of that day was to ProCure Proton Therapy Cener in Oklahoma City”. Diagnosed in November, Jami’s doctor scheduled surgery before Christma, and proton therapy was to follow. “Regaining confidence and knowing she had an entire team of friends, family and her ProCure specialists on her side was what Jami needed to fight cancer head on”, Michelle said. With treatments behind her, Jami returned to her usual industrious self. Educating other women about breast cancer and breast cancer screening is something she has added to her to-do list.

Source: http://newsok.com/article/5520062