WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 21

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is offering new perspectives in life to patients fighting cancer throughout the world.

PEDIATRIC BRAIN CANCER SURVIVOR

Carson Hill, 11-year-old, was diagnosed after he started vomiting after each meal and began to lose weight over a months’ time: numerous tests and visits to the paediatrician and emergency room finally revealed brain cancer. 

Shortly after his diagnosis, Carson had to undergo 2 surgeries to help with the fluid flow of the brain and to take a biopsy of the largest tumor. On February 3rd, he went to the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center to begin the final part of his treatment process. After several medical procedures, the last thing Carson wanted to do was come to the center for more treatment, but the staff really helped him with his apprehension. On March 31th, Carson rang the gong to mark the end of his 30 treatments. His last day was filled with bittersweet emotion. With tears in his eyes, he told his parents, “I am so excited it is my last treatment day, but I will miss everyone at the Proton building so much.” Carson recently turned 12 years old and will be finishing 6th grade. He is a very active young man who enjoys being outside, playing karate and shooting hoops. His strength helped carry his family throughout his fight with cancer. Carson hopes to speak to other children about his journey with cancer and encourage them to not give up during this challenging process. He shared his motto as: “You have to fight to the finish with faith.”

Source: http://www.protonpals.org/2017/05/23/patient-story-carson-hill-brain-cancer-survivor/

 

TRAVELLING TO PRAGUE FOR CANCER TREATMENT

John O’Kelly, a 66-year-old father from Fairgreen in Ireland, is urging men to look for the warning signs of prostate cancer after he was himself diagnosed with the disease.

John wants to insist on medical checks after he experienced a sudden and frequent need to visit the bathroom. His tests revealed abnormalities on his prostate, a small gland just below the bladder. “I was aware where this sort of thing might lead so I asked to go and have a full medical. They ended up looking at my prostate further and, after two weeks, they confirmed I had cancer,” he explained. John says he was lucky to know the warning signs and insist on tests being carried out, but others aren’t so fortunate. Symptoms include burning or pain during urination, frequent urges to urinate at night, loss of bladder control and blood in the urine. John’s tumor was in the early stages and it had not spread outside the prostate, so consultants advised him to “watch and wait”. Frustrated with conflicting advice and determined to carry on living life to the full, John spoke to doctors who gave him the go ahead to travel to the Proton Therapy Center in the Czech Republic for treatment. “I went to the specialist with 25 questions and then made a decision for myself. Over Christmas, I decided to go to Prague and I travelled out in February. They were exceptional. I had an examination and thought there might be a 6-month waiting list. I came straight home to arrange things and I was back in Prague within a week. They were reassuring and very professional and put me at ease from the word go.” John was treated with five hyper fractions over a two-week period, going in for treatment every other day. He’s now cancer-free and has no regrets about seeking healthcare elsewhere.

Source: http://www.limerickpost.ie/2017/05/28/limerick-man-travelled-prague-cancer-treatment/

 

FORMER MILITARY CANCER SURVIVOR

Randy Smith, a former military member who served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years and retired in 2011, was diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer in late July 2016.

Although Randy had heard about others getting cancer, it was not something he ever thought he would personally deal with: “It stopped me in my tracks and I questioned how I got this,” he said. After learning of his diagnosis, many people typically ask him if he was a smoker. To the surprise of many, Randy was healthy, never smoked or used tobacco. His only symptom  was a very slight swollen lymph node that wouldn’t go away after several weeks. Randy received a total of 35 treatments at our Proton Therapy Center. As a former military member and cancer survivor, Randy has learned to not take life for granted. “I’m trying to balance work and life. I make more time for my family because you never know when your day is up,” Randy said. Today, Randy is back to his active lifestyle. He and his wife, Honey Smith, own and operate a restaurant in Navarre, Florida. After completing his treatment and a brief recovery period, Randy and his family opened their second restaurant in Destin, Florida.

Source: http://www.protonpals.org/2017/05/23/patient-story-saluting-former-military-member-randy-smith/

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 20

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

MOM SET TO HEAD TO THE US FOR PROTON THERAPY

Linda Halliday, a 33-year-old Scots mom-of-two with a very rare type of cancerous tumor in her spinal cord, is set to head to the US for life-saving treatment after her best friend and kind-hearted folk managed to raise over £17,000 in just one week.

Linda has been diagnosed with a very rare type of cancerous tumor deep within her spinal cord, which has been pressing on nerves, affecting the bowel, bladder, and lower limbs. After putting her through extensive treatment, doctors in the UK were fearful about operating too deep and risking full paralysis. Specialists decided that proton therapy was the best option for Linda as it would cause the least damage. However, as the treatment is not available in the UK, she was told she would need to head to Jacksonville in Florida. That’s when her best friend Grace stepped in to help and launched a GoFundMe page: “The NHS will fund Linda to go for this treatment, but she would love to be able to take her husband and young children with her too as it is a long time to be apart. The money raised will help to get them out to America with Linda, assist with the family’s general living expenses, and aid Linda’s recovery.” Insisting how any leftover money will be used to support other cancer charities, the story touched so many people, that a staggering £17,515 has, so far, been raised. Linda said: “I’m so lucky to have such an amazing support network of family and friends and I hope that this raises awareness for such rare cancers and cancer in young people.”

Source: http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/15283443.amp/

 

ELLIOT FIGHTING A BRAIN TUMOR

Elliot is an 8-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a recurring brain tumor after he started having seizures many times a day for several months.

Elliot was diagnosed a year ago with a benign brain tumor and had several surgeries to remove it. Unfortunately, even if the tumor is classified as benign, it keeps growing back and is acting very aggressively. Elliot underwent his last surgery in March, after which his doctors decided to gear up the fight with both chemotherapy and proton therapy treatments, which allows for potentially higher doses of radiation to target cancerous cells, with less damage to surrounding healthy tissues than conventional radiation therapy. As proton therapy is not yet available in Michigan, Elliot is currently traveling from Michigan to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. His grandmother said: “He is an incredibly brave little boy.  He has been so resilient after the surgeries and after he finally stopped having seizures. He has to deal with some depression and mood swings as an after effect of the surgery but is so incredible. He has returned to school each time and has had to recover ground lost after each surgery but has done it with an incredible grace and has been amazingly upbeat and positive for anyone, much less an 8 year old.” Elliot’s family has been under a lot of stress for the last year and have been trying to shoulder the financial burden of the uninsured costs, but they have become overwhelmed with the addition of the travel to the Mayo clinic. His grandmother has set up a GoFundMe page to help them cover it, along with the co-pays, the uninsured portion and the travel expenses.

Source: https://www.gofundme.com/m5eamb-elliots-medical-fund

 

SURVIVING CANCER THANKS TO PT

“The most astounding part of my cancer story might be that I’m still alive to tell it.” Find out about Catherine McBurney’s story, a cancer survivor from Lakeway and patient advocate for the Alliance for Proton Therapy Access.

“For nearly 10 years, doctors misdiagnosed my persistent jaw pain and trismus as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJ. Until I woke up one evening with such excruciating, stabbing pain in my face. An immediate appointment with a neurologist led to an MRI and subsequent biopsy. The results came back quickly and were as severe as my physical discomfort: I had Stage IV adenoid cystic carcinoma, an extremely rare head and neck cancer. It was advanced and inoperable, and traditional radiation and chemotherapy had proven ineffective in similar cases. My diagnosis, as grim as it was, came with a single ray of hope. I was led to MD Anderson Cancer Center, where my medical team explained that proton therapy had offered limited success in treating my type of rare cancer. Though it might not cure me, it would hopefully shrink the tumor enough so I could survive and live a more comfortable life. Under the expert care of my physicians at MD Anderson, I began proton treatment without delay. Miraculously, today I am cancer free. Proton therapy killed a cancer that should have killed me. A few residual-yet-bearable side effects are a small price to pay for survival. I hope my story will help inspire health insurance companies and lawmakers to expand proton therapy coverage when it’s the best treatment option for cancer patients who may have no other options for survival. Lives depend on it. Mine did.”

Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/opinion/commentary-how-still-alive-talk-about-surviving-cancer/tRUczuNHorgWYMzXYlEXKN/

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 19

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is raising awareness and generosity, and offering a better quality of life during and after treatment.

MEET CLARE, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR

Clare Parker is a 66-year-old woman with no family history of breast cancer. In July 2016, she visited her doctor to complete her annual mammogram, but this time the visit wasn’t so typical: she had stage 1 ductile carcinoma. 

Clare was startled and scared to hear the diagnosis. After performing a lumpectomy, her oncologist recommended specialist proton therapy at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, to prevent unnecessary radiation to her heart, lungs and surrounding organs, resulting in fewer side effects. Receiving treatment twice a day, Monday through Friday, for one week, Clare was able to complete her proton therapy treatment rather quickly,   “I was able to go back to work after each treatment,” she said.  This is a major convenience for patients that are still trying to maintain their day to day life. Having a treatment such as proton therapy available that has little to no side effects helps patients do just that, return to work, school, or back to time with their families.  For the patients that are traveling from other cities or countries to the center, little downtime between treatments allows them and their families the opportunity to experience the vacation side of Houston by getting to visit museums, the zoo, parks, and other attractions in Houston. Clare appreciated the emotional support and kindness from her medical team.  “They knew me when I walked in. They were so nice and wonderful,” she said

Source: http://www.protonpals.org/2017/05/10/patient-story-clary-parker/

 

Q&A WITH GARY LARSON ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER

According to Gary Larson, medical director at ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City, men should discuss prostate screening and treatments with their doctors. Here are his answers about PSA screening and proton therapy treatment.

“Men with prostate cancer have a prostate that contains normal cells and cancer cells, both of which spill a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) into the blood. We correlate the PSA value in the blood to the amount of both normal and cancerous prostate tissue present in the man’s body. The American Cancer Society recommends men discuss screenings with their doctor at age 50 if they’re at an average risk of developing prostate cancer. Early prostate cancer often shows no signs, and the majority of prostate cancer cases diagnosed today are the result of PSA screening. A gradually rising PSA may warrant only continued observation, while a rapidly changing value may indicate the need for biopsy. For high-grade tumors, treatment is indicated in otherwise healthy men to help preserve their quality of life and in many cases, save their lives. After proton therapy, it usually takes months to years for all the prostate cancer cells to die and the PSA to decline. The PSA should drop about half of the prior reading every several months. So, it’s very important to maintain regular checkups that include PSA tests. This post treatment PSA goal is different for the surgical removal of the prostate, as the PSA should be zero. Also, post treatment, the PSA goal is different when hormone therapy is used with proton therapy or by itself. So, it’s best to discuss what your PSA level should be with your physician.”

Source: http://newsok.com/article/5548700

 

4-YEAR-OLD FIGHTING RHABDOMYOSARCOMA

Darragh, a 4-year-old fighting rhabdomyosarcoma, which affects less than 60 children in Britain every year, is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment and is hoping to be accepted for proton therapy in Florida. 

Darragh was diagnosed in February 2016 and since then, her family have had their lives turned upside down with having to make many trips to Belfast to get her treatment. A fundraising page has been set up to help them with the costs they are incurring and hopefully to make their lives just a little bit easier. Recently, the Irish professional footballer James McClean has donated £1,000 to help pay for specialist proton therapy in Florida. Darragh’s mother said: “I received a message to say James was trying to get in contact with me, then I received a text from James himself saying he was sorry to hear about Darragh and that he would like to donate the money and a signed jersey. I thanked him and he said he was glad he could help and that he would keep Darragh in his prayers.” Sharon admitted that McClean’s touching gesture caught her completely off guard and that she will be forever grateful for his wonderful generosity. She also thanked everyone who helped her and Darragh through the difficult time. “I was shocked at first, then really overwhelmed that he offered to do such a great thing. James is an absolute gentleman and I will be forever grateful to him and everybody else that has helped us along the way, the support has been amazing. I can’t thank everybody enough.” If you would like to help Darragh, you can make a donation by clicking on the following link https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/christine-graham

Source: https://www.sportsjoe.ie/football/james-mcclean-absolute-gentleman-following-benevolent-act-young-irish-girl-rare-cancer-80763

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 18

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving young patients the chance in life they deserve.

LEO THE LION FLIES HOME FOR WELCOME PARTY

Leo Bermejo, a brave 4-year-old who underwent 4 surgeries on his brain tumor at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in the UK, has just finished his 31 sessions of proton therapy in Oklahoma and is on way home to Spain. 

On the 7th of May, supporters of Leo the Lion will gather in Vera, Almeria for a welcome home party. His mom Karen said: “Everything has been like a whirlwind over the last few months and things have progressed so quickly. Leo has proven to us all yet again that he is not ready to give up and he still continues to give us all a smile that lightens up people’s lives.” She went on to praise Team Leo who helped raised thousands of euros to fund his specialist treatment and give him the chance in life he deserves, and offered a big ‘thank you’ to the anonymous donor who paid the balance to reach the fund’s target. Karen told how happy it makes her to share every step of Leo’s journey, knowing it has brought people together, changed people’s mentality of life, and made people realize that the little silly things in life do not really matter anymore, odds can be defeated, living life to the fullest is the most important thing in the world. “I feel like we have also learned some lessons ourselves and who are our true friends through the good and bad times, people who have stuck by and supported us no matter what,” she said. You can follow Leo’s journey on the fund’s new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/leothelionsfight/

Source: https://www.euroweeklynews.com/3.0.15/news/on-euro-weekly-news/costa-de-almeria/144301-cancer-fighter-leo-the-lion-flies-to-spain-for-welcome-home-party

 

SUCCESSFUL CANCER THERAPY FOR BRAVE LOGAN

Logan Sellers, a brave eight year-old from Talybont who spent 10 weeks in America receiving proton therapy for a cancerous eye tumor, is now getting back to his happy cheeky self. 

Logan received the good news this week that his tumor is no longer cancerous after 10 weeks of proton therapy in Jacksonville, Florida, in December. The schoolboy, his twin sister Francheska and their father James travelled to America last November after Logan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) in the summer. He initially started chemotherapy at Manchester Children’s Hospital before travelling thousands of miles for proton therapy. Now that his treatment is complete, doctors have confirmed that the tumor has shrunk and is no longer cancerous. His dad said: “It’s a relief and quite a shock to us all. He’ll have a chest X-Ray in six weeks’ time to make sure it hasn’t spread anywhere and providing everything is okay he’ll go down to six weekly visits and have an MRI scan every three months for a year or two to check for re-occurrence. At least for the time being Logan can return to being a normal child again.” Nearly £12,000 was raised for Logan and his family to live on whilst he received treatment in America after a gofundme page was set up by Logan’s step-grandmother. Logan’s mom said: “I’m really happy that Logan got the great news and I am incredibly grateful to all the doctors and nurses that have been involved with him over the last year. I just can’t wait to get back to swimming with Logan and hopefully he will stay cancer free.”

Source: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/brave-logan-sellers-getting-back-12954125

 

PROTON THERAPY CENTER IN BELGIUM

Leuven University Hospital (UZ Leuven) has started the construction of ParTICLe, the first center for proton therapy in Belgium. 

Proton therapy precisely targets cancer tumors, preventing healthy tissue from being damaged, which is especially important for children and patients with a tumor close to certain vital organs such as the brain. According to Karin Haustermans, head of UZ Leuven’s radiotherapy-oncology department, the advance of proton therapy doesn’t mean the end of the use of other cancer treatments like chemotherapy. “The focus for the future lies in multidisciplinary collaboration, with combined therapies,” she said.  Because proton therapy requires a particle accelerator to produce proton beams, the center will be housed in two underground facilities made of concrete. Two facilities will be constructed: one for the treatment of patients and one for research. The project is the result of a cooperation among Flanders’ 4 university hospitals and Louvain’s Saint-Luc. The total cost is €45 million, of which the government of Flanders is contributing €5 million. UZ Leuven and the University of Leuven are covering most of the rest of the cost. The center should be ready in 2019.

Source: http://www.flanderstoday.eu/innovation/proton-cancer-therapy-centre-breaks-ground-leuven

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 17

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is offering new horizons to patients diagnosed with cancer. 

PROTON THERAPY FOR RECURRENT THYMOMA

As a 17-year member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Chris Cox is no stranger to challenges. In late 2005, his physician called him for a new challenge: he had thymoma.

Thymoma is a very rare form of cancer that spreads locally in the chest rather than through the bloodstream. If treated early enough, there is a very low chance of recurrence. Chris’ case appeared to be typical and, following surgery, he received a clean bill of health. Until 11 years later, when doctors discovered the cancer had returned with a vengeance: it had spread within his pleural cavity. Although this surgery was far more complicated, Chris’ surgeons successfully removed all visible cancer. The concern then became the invisible, microscopic cancer that might still remain in his chest cavity, and the only remaining treatment available to him was radiation. He explored his options and discovered that targeted therapy meant less radiation to his heart and lungs. Chris, who lives in Orange County, decided to travel to San Diego to begin proton therapy at Scripps. He received treatments five days a week for seven weeks. “The experience was entirely painless,” he said. Now, Chris says he is feeling better day by day. Recently, he resumed his career as a partner at international law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius and president of the firm’s strategic consulting group.

Source: https://www.scripps.org/news_items/6062-chris-cox-chose-proton-therapy-to-treat-recurrent-thymoma

 

PROTON THERAPY AFTER BRAIN TUMOR DIAGNOSIS

Lisa Hudson, a 50-year-old woman from Lichfield in the UK, travelled to Prague for specialist treatment after being diagnosed with a brain tumor called meningioma that threatened to leave her blind.

When Lisa noticed her eyesight was slowly deteriorating, she put it down to her age. But as the months went on Lisa’s eyesight began to rapidly decline and she went to the doctor. She was sent to the hospital they discovered a tumor behind her eye and pressing on her optic nerve. If left untreated it threatened to leave her blind. “It was frightening,” she said. “I had no other symptoms. I was one of the few people who could walk around with a brain tumour and not know anything about it.” Lisa was given her options by her oncologist: to leave the tumor and gradually see her eyesight fade until it disappeared altogether or to undergo radiotherapy. Lisa said: “I decided to try and save as much sight in my eye as possible. I was only 48 and the thought of losing the sight in my right eye was unimaginable.” She decided to go for proton therapy but her private medical insurance did not support her overseas, so she financed the cost from savings. Lisa and her husband travelled more than 900 miles to the Proton Therapy Center in the Czech Republic in September 2015. She spent 6 weeks having fractions of proton therapy 5 days a week. After six weeks Lisa returned home and had follow-up tests at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where they tested her vision. “The improvement was dramatic.” she said. Lisa is full of praise for the Proton Therapy Center and says she’s fortunate she could afford private healthcare.

Source: http://www.lichfieldmercury.co.uk/8203-lichfield-woman-s-prague-trip-for-proton-therapy-after-brain-tumour-diagnosis-threatened-blindness/story-30296499-detail/story.html

 

RAISING £250,000 FOR PROTON THERAPY IN GERMANY

Adam Archer, a 29-year-old man from the UK who was diagnosed with aggressive bowel cancer and liver cancer in early 2017 is asking for help to fund proton therapy treatment in Germany.

“On the 24th of February 2017, after feeling unwell, I was diagnosed with not one but two cancers: a very aggressive bowel cancer and liver cancer, which have spread to my lymph nodes and are inoperable. I am currently receiving chemotherapy treatment to try and control the cancer’s growth at a hospital in London, over 230 miles from my home, but there is no knowing how successful it will be. After researching treatments in this field, I have discovered there are other treatments available across the world that are proving to be very successful. The Hallwang Clinic in Germany is a world leader, they offer a revolutionary treatment called proton therapy. This treatment is not available on the NHS and unfortunately is very expensive: the approximate cost for my treatment would be £250,000. The reason I have set up this just giving page is to see if you can help me achieve this total and help me fight this cancer and win my life back, at 29 years old, I’m not ready to give up! Funds raised will also help to support me through my ongoing chemotherapy in London, and any funds remaining after my medical expenses will be donated to charity in memory of my sister Dee who tragically lost her life to Leukaemia at the age of 14. Your help is invaluable to me and my family and I am eternally greatful for any donations.”

Source: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/AdamLives