WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 45

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.

RACE AGAINST TIME FOR DESPERATE MOM

Sheena Schyma, a young mom from London who was diagnosed with a rare form of nose cancer, is seeking pioneering proton therapy in a desperate race against time to save her own life.

Sheena was diagnosed with stage III nasopharynx cancer in September after spending four months battling to find a reason behind sudden problems with her hearing. After a number of scans and biopsies, doctors recommended she undergo concurrent chemotherapy with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). But the 32-year-old became concerned that IMRT could leave her with long-lasting problems and a list of side effects. She started researching her options with her husband Chris regardless of what was standard protocol in the UK, and came across proton beam therapy, which is not yet available in their country. Unfortunately, the NHS will not fund Sheena’s treatment and it is not covered under her health insurance, as proton therapy is not currently part of the UK’s treatment guidelines for her type of cancer. Chris said: “Proton therapy will not create a better opportunity to cure the cancer. IMRT and proton therapy offer exactly the same success rates. But what we’re looking at here is long term quality of life.” Chris has established a JustGiving page which has already raised £20,000 towards the goal of £37,500, so Sheena can begin treatment at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic. But there’s still a long way to go. “There’s a real burden on the patient to muddle through the process, which takes a long time. We are taking a pragmatic approach and just try to keep solving problems, but getting over the target shouldn’t be underestimated.”

Source: http://newsround.io/medical/desperate-mum-with-rare-cancer-race-against-time-after-refused-nhs-treatment/666321

 

ENERGETIC FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER

Kimberly Kraus is an energetic woman who holds a fast-paced job managing a restaurant, and when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, proton therapy helped keep her on her feet through treatment.

Kimberly’s grandmother and two aunts had already suffered from breast cancer, so she started annual mammograms early. At age 39, her mammogram showed a possibility of breast cancer, which was confirmed by a biopsy. Her doctor recommended six weeks of radiation in addition to lumpectomy or mastectomy. Kimberly was sent to the Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center on the Provision campus. After a multidisciplinary consultation, her doctors, including pathologists, oncologists, surgeons and radiation therapists, determined that traditional radiation could affect her lungs due to the placement of her tumor, giving her a higher chance of developing cancer later in life. “What can happen is potential long-term radiation damage to the left side of the chest, including a higher incidence of heart disease and lung cancer, which is why proton therapy is advantageous for younger women. The benefit is that we get the same benefit for the breast, and we reduce by a considerable margin the damage to the heart and lung,” her doctors said. Kimberly found herself surprised at how proton therapy enabled her to keep up with her busy life. “It was amazing. I had minimal side effects and was able to keep the same work schedule,” she said.

Source: https://www.itnonline.com/article/transforming-outlook-cancer

 

AIRFORCE MEDIC WITH LYMPHOMA

When Teresa Monteon, a medic from the Air Force base in California, heard her doctor say she had stage 2 unfavorable Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2015, the weight of those word hit her hard and she cried.

In August 2015, Teresa discovered a lump on the left side of her neck that changed everything. After a CT scan, she was scheduled for a biopsy, which revealed Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. This form of cancer causes cells to grow abnormally, which could lead to cancerous cells spreading to other parts of the body. As the disease progresses, it compromises the body’s ability to fight infection. Tests revealed cancerous tumors on the left side of her neck and chest above her heart. She began 4 months of chemotherapy on October 26, 2015. The treatments took a profound effect on her, both physically and mentally. An avid runner and hiker prior to her diagnosis, she shared what it felt like not being able to do the things she loved. When Teresa was through with chemo, she underwent a month of proton therapy in San Diego. On April 25, 2016, her oncologist told her she was in remission. While she is aware cancer could return to her body, she is wasting no time living the life she loves. She said her cancer battle taught her a valuable life lesson, one she wants to share with her fellow Airmen: “The biggest take away for me is knowing there’s going to be adversity and challenges in life, but what matters is getting yourself back up,” she said. “Whatever challenge you’re facing, it’s likely for a very short period in your life and there’s so much out there to experience.”

Source: http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/Media-Center/Display/Article/1364435/staff-sergeant-shows-resiliency-in-fight-with-cancer/

 

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 44

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping patients with various types of cancer overcome their disease and make plans for the future. 

BOY WITH LIFE-THREATENING BRAIN TUMOR

Logan Silva, a 7-year-old second-grader, was diagnosed with a life-threatening fast-growing brain tumor called medulloblastoma after he hit his head at a soccer game and was scanned for concussion.

Two months following his concussion, Logan began having severe headaches, which led to the MRI scan that found his 3-centimeter-wide malignant brain tumor. Since the diagnosis on September 30, he underwent 2 surgeries and is currently being treated by proton therapy and chemotherapy. The surgeries left him with “posterior fossa syndrome”, a post-brain surgery condition in children that causes reduced speech and motor functions, which means he has to relearn how to speak, swallow and walk. Logan began his first of 30 treatments of proton therapy directed on his brain and spine last Thursday at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute near their home in Jacksonville, Florida. He will undergo this treatment every day for 6 weeks while having chemotherapy one day a week followed by 6 to 8 months of chemotherapy. Proton beam therapy is especially valuable for Logan’s condition because the beam can target the specific affected area while avoiding exposing his liver and other areas to harmful radiation. Logan’s mother Emily, a stay-at-home-mom, cares for the other 3 children aged 5, 3, and 4 months while Logan goes in for treatment. His dad Daniel describes the concussion as a “blessing in disguise” because his son vaguely showed symptoms beforehand. The second-grader just returned home last week after a month away where he spent two weeks in the hospital followed by a 2-week in-patient rehabilitation facility. He continues to go to rehab to strengthen his muscles and regain his motor functions.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5044457/Concussion-leads-discovery-boy-s-brain-tumor.html

 

TWO TIMES BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer survivors are at a higher risk of getting either a second type of breast cancer or another type of cancer. This was the case for Ann Freiberger.

Ann had been in remission from breast cancer for 19 years, but three months after completing her annual mammogram in November 2016, she noticed a change in her nipple. She returned to her doctor’s office, where they found invasive lobular carcinoma in her left breast. “This time around doctors found the lump in my left breast and explained there was no genetic relation to my previous cancer in my right breast,” Ann said. “You have to do your self-exams. If I had done them, I believe I would’ve caught this earlier.” A year before receiving her new breast cancer diagnosis, Ann underwent open heart surgery and had her mitral valve replaced. Therefore, she knew she needed the best radiation treatment that least compromised her heart. She followed her oncologist’s recommendation and went for proton therapy: “I chose proton therapy because I didn’t want radiation to affect the mitral valve in my heart. Also, proton therapy would have fewer side effects than traditional radiation,” she said. Today, the retired English teacher continues to live a productive life with her husband. They love spending time on their boat and with their “fur family” of two dogs and one cat. Additionally, she loves spending time with her grandchildren, reading and gardening.

Source: http://www.protonpals.org/2017/10/25/former-breast-cancer-survivor-ann-freiberger-faces-second-breast-cancer/

 

LONGER AND HEALTHIER LIFE AFTER PT

When Aimée Huff was diagnosed at 40 years old, dying of breast cancer wasn’t an option. She opted for proton therapy to protect her healthy organs and live a long and happy life with her loved ones.

When Aimée found lumps in her breast, she wasn’t particularly worried. “I knew that 80% of breast lumps are benign, and I knew that I was seeing my OB-GYN in 3 weeks, and thought I’d mention it to her,” she recalled. “Not in a million years did I think that everything that’s happened in the past year was the path that was ahead of me.” Aimée was soon confronted with the fact that she had a large tumor, and it wasn’t benign. Confronted by the statistics of breast cancer survival and the various side effects linked to traditional radiation therapy such as increased risk of cardiac events, she decided to take her treatment into her hands and to pursue proton therapy. Proton therapy targets cancerous cells while minimizing radiation exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue, especially the heart and lungs. This is particularly important for patients who are relatively young and could otherwise be at risk of experiencing ongoing health problems once they’ve survived the cancer. “I decided in that moment that I didn’t care what the statistics said. I wasn’t a statistic,” she said. “Number 1, was really the collateral damage to heart and lungs, that being a left-sided tumor, and I’m 40 years old. My financial plan says that my heart and lungs need to go another 60+ years, and I wanna be there for grandchildren and great grandbabies and it wasn’t acceptable that I could survive the cancer and have my heart and lungs give out early. And so the fact that they could literally sculpt the treatment field around my healthy organs and just clean up any stray cancer cells was huge.” For Aimée, what proton therapy actually meant was a lifetime of health and happiness in front of her.

Source: http://mynorthwest.com/798459/proton-therapy-offers-breast-cancer-survivors-a-longer-healthier-life/?