WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 8

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

PARENTS CALLING FOR EYE CHECK-UPS

Parents from Newport in the UK stress the importance of checking for eye health in children after their 3-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer.

In October last year, Helen and Matt Harris noticed a milky colour in the eye of their daughter Ella, and took her to an optician. “We weren’t expecting it to be cancer. It just shook our entire world. You don’t ever want that to happen to your child,” Helen said. They were referred to the hospital where they received the devastating news Ella had retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer which affects the retina of children aged under five. Both of her eyes were affected, but the situation being worse in the left one, it had to be taken out. Ella now has a prosthetic left eye and is receiving chemotherapy and laser therapy. She will also head for proton beam therapy at a specialist hospital in Germany. Her parents said they were keen to highlight the symptoms of retinoblastoma to others. “There are key things to look for,” Helen said. Signs of retinoblastoma include an unusual white reflection in the pupil that might be apparent in photos, a squint, a change in the colour of the iris, a red or inflamed eye and poor vision. “If you see anything that’s a little strange then go see someone. Normally children don’t get eye tests until they are about five, so we are lucky that the optician would see us.” The couple are both on leave from work while they come to terms with their daughter’s condition.

Source: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/15997963._It_just_shook_our_entire_world___Parents_of_a_three_year_old_diagnosed_with_eye_cancer_issue_warning_over_symptoms/

 

8-YEAR-OLD NEEDS COMMUNITY’S HELP

The parents of Karalyn Giron-Plante, an 8-year-old girl from Richmond in Canada who was recently diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, are reaching out to the community for a helping hand.

Kara was recently diagnosed with ependymoma after suffering from blinding headaches amongst a myriad of confusing symptoms. In early January, surgeons removed all they could of this potentially lethal tumor. Ependymomas are usually tumors arising from the cells that line the brain’s fluid-filled cavities and can be associated with unfavorable outcomes. For that reason the family hopes to use all possible methods for mopping up any tumor cells still lurking in Karalyn’s brain. Doctors are hoping to do so using a leading-edge type of treatment called proton therapy in the USA. The treatment in Seattle is planned for later this month, but first Kara must undergo a genetic test. If she carries a specific gene, then the proton therapy treatment won’t help her. If that happens, the family will need to consider alternative therapies. Juan and Katelyn will need help to cover expenses both in the US as well as back in Richmond for things like out-of-school care for Kara’s siblings. In the event the US trip is cancelled, Katelyn would like to use the funds for alternative medicines. In the event Kara is miraculously cured, then Katelyn plans to earmark the funds to cancer research.

Source: http://www.richmondsentinel.ca/Lateststories/2411/cancer-stricken-eight-year-old-needs-community%27s-help

 

7-YEAR-OLD SEEING BETTER RESULTS WITH PT

Bella Bush’s fight against brain cancer goes back to 2013, when she was only two years old. After 3 different chemo regimens that did little to shrink the tumor, she is now seeing better results thanks to proton therapy.

Since the beginning of her fight against cancer, Bella has always seemed playful and happy, even when going through chemo. “There were times she would vomit, throw up, be lethargic, low blood count, all the typical things that come with chemo therapy,” said her father Josh. But chemo did little to shrink her tumor. Now aged 7, Bella is seeing better results from a precise radiation called proton beam therapy. Bella spent almost 7 weeks at St. Jude Hospital last summer, going through 29 rounds of the radiation. The equipment, similar to an MRI, can be intimidating, even for an adult, but “she’s the youngest child at St. Jude to do this radiation awake without sedation,” her father said with pride. Bella was never scared, even though she had to lay still for 30 minutes, wearing a protective mask over her head. Other than losing a patch of hair on both sides of her head, she did not suffer any side effects, like during chemo. The proton beam did shrink Bella’s tumor, and doctors will check her progress again at the end of March. “They are not expecting the tumor to ever go away,” said Josh. “They’re just hoping the proton beam actually destroys the DNA of the tumor.” That would stop the tumor from ever-growing again and allow Bella to grow even more carefree.

Source: http://ksn.com/2018/02/14/wichita-girl-fighting-brain-tumor-sees-better-results-with-new-treatment/

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 7

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping young patients hope for a better future. 

CANCER PATIENT STEPS UP TO BEAT CANCER

Julie Hill, a 49-year-old hospital worker who was treated with pioneering proton therapy in Switzerland for a rare form of cancer, is stepping out for Cancer Research UK’s latest fundraising campaign called “Walk All Over Cancer”.

Julie was diagnosed with chordoma at the back of her skull in June 2014. Chordoma is a type of bone cancer so rare that the odds of getting it were a million to one, and by the time she was diagnosed, it had spread to the bone in her throat behind her nose. “I felt I had been hit with a death sentence. No one knew anything about the cancer I had and no one could answer my questions. It was like living a nightmare,” she recalls. After undergoing surgery in the UK, experts said proton therapy was her only hope and the grandmother of five travelled to Switzerland for 9 weeks to undergo the state-of-the-art treatment.  When Julie returned to the UK she received daily therapy and counselling to help her cope with the extreme anxiety her experience had caused. She still suffers from chronic fatigue but is back at work and strives to keep a positive attitude. “I know my cancer is aggressive, and although proton therapy stunted it, it didn’t cure it. There are no other treatments available, so I am living on a knife-edge,” said Julie. Today, she is inviting men and women across her county to support the latest fundraising campaign of Cancer Research UK. “I took part in Walk All Over Cancer last year and will be doing so again this year. For me it’s a way of giving something back. Research is the only way we make progress.”

Source: https://www.expressandstar.com/news/2018/02/10/stafford-cancer-patient-steps-up-to-beat-cancer/

 

TRAVELLING TO PRAGUE FOR TREATMENT

Jon Briggs, a 50-year-old father from Aberdeen, Scotland, is calling for the introduction of routine cancer screenings in the UK after flying to the Czech Republic for pioneering proton therapy.

Jon started monitoring his PSA score, which measures the level of a protein specifically produced by the prostate, after his friend was told he had terminal cancer. Despite having no symptoms, Jon found out that he also had the disease but had caught it at an early enough stage to undergo treatment. After visiting a number of specialists, he was given two options: surgery to remove the whole prostate or brachytherapy which involves the use of radiation. The latter would have required him to wear a lead apron for six months when close to children, including his two-year-old daughter. Instead, he opted for proton therapy, requiring him to travel 800 miles to Prague as it is not currently available in the UK. “You get strapped into position and the only discomfort is that you have to have a full bladder while they are carrying out the treatment, which is for about 20 minutes,” Jon explained. “But when you look at the bigger picture it’s nothing.” Jon is now calling for a routine screening programme for prostate cancer to be introduced. “I had a PSA test just before the treatment and it was 7.2, four months later it had dropped to 4.2. I just had another one a few days ago and it had gone down to 2.3. I was incredibly lucky but there are others – such as my friend – who aren’t.”

Source: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/1407937/jon-travels-to-prague-for-pioneering-proton-programme/

 

BRAIN CANCER TEEN WAITING FOR PT

Jake Anders, a teen from Plainfield, Illinois, was diagnosed with a brain tumor last December. As he is fighting for his life, his family is fighting to afford the medical treatment he desperately needs.

Jake’s family says proton therapy, which is offered at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, may be the only way to target the tumor that was found in his brain last December. “It’s around his carotid artery in the brain so it’s in a place they can’t operate,” said Jake’s mother, Amy. The teen already underwent radiation therapy for another tumor that was successfully treated back in 2013. However, specialist proton therapy is the safest option for repeated treatments, because it allows to precisely focus the radiation dose to the tumor and spare healthy brain tissue. “With traditional photon radiation, they radiate almost the whole brain,” said Jake. “That will hit the back of my brain to where I had treatments before and will cause brain necrosis which kills off the brain. If I get proton they can target it and I will get minimal damage.” The family’s insurance provider is still determining how much of the therapy it will cover. If the plan denies coverage, the family says they won’t be able to afford the $180,000 upfront cost for the treatment. “We will just have to do the therapy here and hope there might be some type of chemo they can do afterwards,” said Amy.

Source: https://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/hendricks-county/plainfield-teen-fighting-brain-tumor-and-massive-bills-for-treatment

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 6

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. 

DYING MOM OVERWHELMED BY LOCAL GENEROSITY

Amelia Martin, a 41-year-old mom suffering from a rare and terminal brain cancer, has been overwhelmed by the generosity of her local community who helped her achieved her aim of raising funds needed for life-prolonging treatment.

Amelia was diagnosed with a papillary meningioma four years ago after getting pains in her heard that were initially mistaken for migraines. In December 2013, she underwent 14 continuous hours of surgery to partly remove the growth and had radiotherapy in January 2015 to stop it from growing back. She also had a second brain tumor fully removed by surgery in October 2016. But despite invasive treatment, doctors told her the tumor had returned in November and was deemed inoperable due to its location. Amelia launched a desperate bid to raise funds for cutting-edge proton treatment, as she could not bear the thought of not being there for her young son Dylan. In just three weeks, people have donated £40,000, which is enough money to enable her to begin treatment at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic. She said: “There are lots of lovely, kind people and organizations in my community and in some of the surrounding villages that have raised and are still raising money for my treatment. They are absolutely amazing.” Through the generosity of strangers, friends and family, Amelia is now due to start her proton therapy this month. She expected to be in Prague until mid-March.

Source : https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/health/amelia-martin-ramsey-brain-cancer-14257411

 

PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVOR ADVOCATING FOR PT

Duncan Gregory, an engineer from West Hendred in the UK who survived prostate cancer thanks to proton therapy, has reiterated his call for the state-of-the-art cancer treatment to be offered as standard on the National Health Service.

Duncan was given the devastating diagnosis just days before Christmas 2016, and was advised to either have the tumor surgically removed or have radiotherapy, both of which having the potential to cause impotence and incontinence. Instead, he researched other options and discovered proton therapy, and decided to go to Prague in December to undergo proton treatment, for which he paid £34,000. The treatment , which uses a high-energy beam of protons, rather than X-rays, to deliver radiotherapy for patients, is currently paid for by the NHS since 2008 but only on a case by case basis. “The NHS should be looking at it as a default option for prostate cancer,” Duncan said. “The main thing is the lack of side-effects. I went over to Prague with several other English people and they are all now in the same boat as me with no side-effects.” Figures released by Prostate Cancer UK showed the number of men dying from the disease is now 11,819 every year in the UK, and revealed that the disease has overtaken breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. “I would like to think these figures would act as a catalyst for change,” said Duncan.

Source: http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/15917931.Prostate_cancer_survivor_calls_for___39_amazing__39__therapy_to_become_standard/

 

SURVIVING CANCER THANKS TO PT 

Walter Theiss, 66, never considered himself to be lean or slim, so the loss of appetite in the winter of 2017 and the resulting rapid loss of about 18 pounds in three weeks rapidly led him to think something was wrong.

As Walter was also experiencing some trouble with swallowing, his primary care physician scheduled a number of tests that ultimately revealed an oesophageal tumor. Walter immediately began to do some research on local specialists and asked around about the best doctor for this type of cancer “I had a friend who lives in our neighborhood and had the same type of oesophageal cancer two years earlier,” he says. “He had the same treatment that I had scheduled. Chemotherapy and radiation together, then a rest period followed by surgery. The one difference was my friend had photon radiation, not proton radiation. The proton therapy facility was not available at the time,” he says. Walter began his treatment in June 2017 as one of the first adult oesophageal cancer patient to undergo treatment at the Cincinnati Children’s/UC Health Proton Therapy Center. “I had chemotherapy once a week (five treatments total) at UC Health West Chester hospital, and then, I would go for radiation therapy at the proton center Monday through Friday for 28 treatments,” he said, adding that as a business owner, he continued to go into work for half days at his office in Roselawn. After completing chemotherapy and radiation in mid-July, he had surgery to remove the tumor, which had shrunk substantially, and some remaining lymph nodes surrounding it. While the recovery was tough, he now has no problems swallowing or eating regular foods. Today, his focus is on a move he’s been planning for several years: building a new home in Hilton Head and moving there in the spring.

Source: http://healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/29717/

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 5

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping patients of all ages recover faith in their future. 

YOUNG BERTIE HALFWAY THROUGH TREATMENT

Bertie Miller-Grossett, a brave 3-year-old from Warkworth in the UK who was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year, is more than halfway through his proton therapy treatment.

After having had his brain tumor removed last year, Bertie is now undergoing a specialized form of radiotherapy called proton therapy in America. A special Facebook page entitled “Bertie the Brave” has been set up and last Thursday his parents posted an update, accompanied by a heartwarming photograph. The message said: ‘Halfway there; today Bertie had his 15th treatment! On the way to the Proton Centre this morning Bertie said, I love Proton, especially Brian. Bertie and Brian have struck up a special friendship and here they are today doing Bertie’s now famous muscles pose!’ The youngster is in America with his parents, Gemma and Claire, and younger brother Sebastian. An online fund-raising page has been set up to support them at tinyurl.com/yb7czyca.

Source: https://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/news/bertie-reaches-halfway-mark-1-8994147

 

NASAL CANCER SURVIVOR 

When Chris Williams began experiencing common cold symptoms such as a stuffy nose and earache, he never imagined it would lead to a serious condition.

“One day, I suddenly began slurring my speech,” Chris recalls. He immediately went to the emergency room, and after completing an MRI, doctors informed him he had a cancerous tumor in his nasal passages. He was then referred to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where doctors recommended proton therapy to treat his nasopharyngeal cancer. “Proton therapy was able to protect my optic nerves, brain stem, teeth and jaw. Also, it has fewer side effects such as fatigue, loss of appetite and dry mouth compared to traditional radiation. Knowing that helped lift my spirits,” Chris shared. He began treatment in April 2014 and completed a total of 35 treatments. He is now giving back as an active participant on a Facebook support group that helps raise awareness on nasopharyngeal cancer. He frequently shares his experience with cancer patients to help provide the emotional support needed by many. Today, Chris enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and three dogs. Whenever he has a chance, he loves trying new foods from different cultures while mastering his culinary skills. “Life is fantastic. Maybe one day I will open my own food truck serving authentic Filipino food,” he said.

Source: http://www.protonpals.org/2018/01/29/nasal-cancer-survivor-chris-williams/

 

THOUSANDS OF POUNDS RAISED FOR TEENAGER 

Owen Thomas, a 15-year-old from the UK who was diagnosed with a rare cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma just two days before Christmas, needs proton therapy in the US. 

Owen need proton therapy in Jacksonville, Florida, and hundreds of people have given a huge boost to help him battle his rare cancer. The Welsh NHS has agreed to fund his 10-week radiotherapy treatment, but his family want to be at his side and they are now desperately fundraising to be with him. Friends and family rallied round to try and raise as much money as they could to help, and raised over £3,000 at a charity car wash event. Owen’s aunt wrote online: “Yesterday was amazing! I can’t thank each and everyone of you. As a family it was overwhelming to see how much support Owen has, there were tears but I can promise you they were happy ones. If Owen can fight as hard as you guys worked then he is going to be just fine.”

Source: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/thousands-pounds-raised-teenager-diagnosed-14213448