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.


Elsa McBurney, a 7-year-old brave girl from Brandbridge in the UK, is facing further treatment after receiving devastating news that despite months of chemotherapy and surgery, some of the cancer remains.

Elsa’s family were given the heartbreaking news that only 65% of the cancer was destroyed by chemotherapy and surgery, while they had been hoping for a result of 100% necrosis, which would mean no disease is left. Unfortunately, 35% of the cancer remains, which means that the dream holiday to Florida they were hoping for won’t happen, instead the 7-year-old and her mom Leslie will travel to America for Elsa to undergo proton therapy treatment. Posting on the Team Elsa blog, Leslie said: “I prayed and hoped with absolutely everything that I have that the results would be amazing; 100% necrosis, no evidence of disease. And Elsa looking and feeling so well really helped me cement this notion into my head. I really felt like it was gone. Well it breaks my heart to say it but unfortunately we didn’t get the results we had hoped for. She had 65% necrosis and 35% viable disease Absolutely gutting after everything she has come through. “However, we will dust ourselves off and keep fighting. We are very fortunate that her treatment in America is funded by the NHS, as is our travel over there. “Our next move is Florida for proton beam therapy, we have no dates yet but it’s likely to be in the next couple of weeks.”

Source: http://www.banbridgeleader.co.uk/news/heartbreaking-results-for-elsa-means-further-cancer-treatment-1-8155944



Lesley Adams, a 32-year-old mom-of-two from who has been diagnosed in March with a highly aggressive form of lymphoma in her chest, has been fighting for her life on two fronts since July.

Lesley was diagnosed with defuse large B-cell lymphoma after she had trouble breathing and a nurse practitioner thought she had bronchitis. When she saw the results, she felt her stomach drop: “My tumor was like an eggplant in my chest.” In her battle against cancer, Lesley has fought back with chemotherapy and now is in the middle of radiation therapy to try and kill the last vestiges of the mass that rapidly grew near her heart and lungs. Outside the hospital however, Lesley has lost a two-month-long battle with her insurance company, seeking approval for them to cover proton therapy treatment, a more targeted radiation therapy to treat her tumor instead of the traditional radiation therapy she had to settle for. “It goes only to the tumor, and it does not affect the heart, the lungs or the breast. We met with a radiation specialist here who told us you can get lung cancer, oesophagus and breast cancers from radiation.” Lesley fears she and her young family will have to undergo another cancer battle decades down the road as a result of her exposure to radiation. In the midst of all of the appeals, her tumor continued to grow and she decided she could not afford to wait any longer to begin treatment. Since Sept. 5, she has been undergoing radiation treatments five days per week in a bid to finish off the tumor.

Source: http://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/forest-woman-loses-battle-with-anthem-to-cover-her-requested/article_e8f5efa0-9fdf-11e7-a806-63d32ca38960.html



It is just 12 months to the first patient treatment at the UK’s first NHS high energy proton beam therapy center at The Christie in Manchester.

Proton therapy has been offered overseas to NHS patients who are eligible for treatment in England since 2008 in a programme that has to date supported approximately 1,000 patients. However, for many cancer patients, travelling abroad is inappropriate as they may be too unwell or require other treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy. The trip abroad can also result in families being separated during a very stressful time. Together with the Department of Health, NHS England is funding the development of two world class centers in Manchester and London for NHS patients to be treated in the UK. The Christie proton beam therapy center will treat its first patient in August 2018 with University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust following in summer 2020. Each center will treat up to 750 patients a year. Amelia Brome, 10, from Lancashire is back at school this term for the first time since January, having undergone 10 weeks of PT in the USA for a tumor affecting her brain and nasal cavity. She and mother initially had to fly out to Florida alone, as her father had difficulty obtaining a visa and had to follow on a week later. “It would all have been so much easier if Amelia had been able to have her treatment in Manchester, and we are so glad knowing that proton therapy is coming to The Christie next year,” her dad said.

Source: http://www.christie.nhs.uk/about-us/news/press/first-patient-treatment-just-12-months-away-at-uk-s-first-nhs-high-energy-proton-beam-therapy-centre/


Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality can often be the ideal option for pediatric cancer.


George Woodall, a young boy from the UK who has been battling cancer for 9 months, had his fifth birthday interrupted by Hurricane Irma while he was out in Florida receiving specialist cancer treatment.

George Woodall was diagnosed with a primitive neuroectodermal tumor lodged near the base of his spine in January. He travelled to Jacksonville with his family earlier this year so he could receive specialist proton therapy. George is still too young to fully understand the treatment he is undergoing, but it was revealed by doctors that chemo would never have saved him, making the Woodall’s family journey to America for proton treatment all the more important. George’s parents “couldn’t be more proud” of their “little superstar” as he bravely endures gruelling chemo and patiently undergoes advanced radiation therapy in a bid to beat the cancerous tumor. His mother said: “The side effects of everything from the chemo, his surgery and now the proton therapy, as you can imagine, have been quite something to deal with. With adults you can at least explain and rationalise things to them. Explaining it all to a child, not least watch them endure and go through the excruciating pain of it all, is something else.” Last week, George was due to celebrate his fifth birthday at Disney World in Florida, but Hurricane Irma battered his temporary home in the USA and forced the him, his older brother Alex and his parents to take cover as the worst of the weather raged overhead. His mom said: “He still had fun anyway as we threw an impromptu party the day before with a couple of locals we’ve made friends with and made the hurricane an adventure ‘camping’ in our closet.”

Source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/brave-surrey-boy-battling-cancer-13620811



Ava Jacobs, 10 years old, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma when she was just one. She is now a survivor thanks to proton therapy, which has helped many children and adolescents with cancer go on to live healthy lives with limited side effects.

While completing a routine checkup, Ava’s pediatrician noticed something out of the ordinary for a one-year-old: her head was two centimeters larger than the norm. Although it might not seem significant, her pediatrician was concerned and ordered a CT scan, which revealed a medulloblastoma tumor that consumed 75% of her cerebellum. The predicted outcome using traditional radiation for the tumor was not very promising. During Ava’s 5 months of chemotherapy, her parents began researching different forms of treatment and discovered proton therapy. Ava received a total of 25 proton therapy treatments, and during her time at the treatment center, she bonded with the staff and became best friends with another patient named Joshua. Unfortunately, Joshua lost his fight against cancer, but Ava drew inspiration from this loss and honored her best friend by writing a song in his memory. Now, 10-year-old Ava is busy singing, writing and performing in the theater. Her other talents include playing the piano and guitar. Proton therapy helped her overcome her diagnosis, and she’s now back to enjoying life.

Source: http://www.protonpals.org/2017/09/07/medulloblastoma-pediatric-survivor-ava-jacobs/



Bree Burke is a 10-year-old cancer survivor. Diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in her orbit when she was just 5, she underwent 25 proton therapy treatments and is now cancer free.

For about two weeks, Bree Burke had what looked like a stye or an eye infection. As ber ophthalmologist suspected something more, in August of 2012, a CT scan revealed a rhabdomysarcoma in her orbit. Given the tumor location in Bree’s head, it was decided that proton therapy would be the best treatment option for her, as it would be able to precisely target the tumor while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. Fortunately for Bree, who lives in Texas, there was a proton therapy center to travel to for treatment not too far from home. In the evenings, Bree and her sister Blayne would jump in the family car with snacks in-hand as their mom drove them to the proton center for treatment. “We were extremely fortunate to be so close to medical care,” Bree’s mom said. “The girls and I would listen to Christmas CDs on the way to the center and sing along to ‘Silent Night’ and ‘All I want for Christmas,” she recalls. Rather than letting cancer bring her down, Bree chose to fight it with a positive attitude, which proved to make a big difference during her treatment. She completed a total of 25 proton therapy treatments, and  to celebrate the end of treatment, Bree treated everyone in attendance with a pizza party and cookies. The jovial 10-year-old will soon begin 5th grade and continue her dancing in ballet, jazz and tap. When she’s not dancing, she is busy in her craft room creating prayer boxes or drawings.

Source: http://www.protonpals.org/2017/08/15/catching-up-with-rhabdomyosarcoma-pediatric-survivor-bree-burke/