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 raising people’s awareness and motivation to save children fighting cancer. 

STAYING POSITIVE TO BEAT CANCER

Back in November 2017, Gavin Snowhite, a teenager from Jupiter in Florida, just wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to get out of bed, which was completely uncharacteristic for the active teenager. 

Physicians initially diagnosed Gavin with anemia and later that month changed his diagnosis to Epstein Barr, a virus that causes mononucleosis and other illnesses. But after an ultrasound of his spleen came back abnormal, Gavin was admitted for 10 days at the hospital, before he received a diagnosis of Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. His mom Melanie recalls thinking her life was over upon hearing her son’s diagnosis. Due to the staging and severity of Gavin’s case, physicians suggested entering him into a research medication study where he would have a 50/50 chance of getting either the randomized trial medication or traditional chemotherapy. Gavin is currently undergoing 5 rounds of chemotherapy, which will be followed by proton therapy at Miami Cancer Institute. The proton treatments will run Monday through Friday for 4 weeks and the family will need to establish a temporary home base closer to the hospital. Maintaining a positive attitude is helping Gavin get through his cancer treatments and the drastic lifestyle changes he is enduring.  ”I was definitely surprised when I heard I had cancer but I knew I would get through it.” Gavin is responding really well to the treatment and, according to Melanie, his last PET scan showed there was no cancer left. “Before cancer I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now I think something in the field of oncology would be a cool option because I have so much experience with it.”

Source: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/specialty-publications/jupiter-courier/2018/04/24/maintaining-positive-attitude-helping-gavin-get-through-his-cancer-treatments-and-drastic-lifestyle/527285002/

 

MOM RUNNING FOR CHARITY 

Louise Milliken, a mom from Glasgow in the UK, is running the London Marathon for the Brain Tumor Research charity after her daughter suffered her own brain tumor ordeal. 

Louise has dedicated her first London Marathon to her daughter who has just completed a year of gruelling treatment for a brain tumor. Her challenge has already raised more than £15,000 for the pioneering charity Brain Tumor Research, and the money will fund vital work focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure. Her daughter Katie, 11, was among friends and family who cheered Louise on throughout Sunday’s event and the inspirational mom has dedicated her efforts not just to her own daughter but to all patients and families affected by the cruel disease. Katie was just 3 when she was first diagnosed. She underwent emergency surgery and has endured months of treatment including specialist proton therapy in America. She was back on chemotherapy after the tumor regrew, but she has just completed 52 weeks of treatment and the tumor is now the smallest it has ever been. To make a donation to Brain Tumor Research via Louise’s JustGiving page, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/louise-milliken1

Source: https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/glasgow-mum-runs-london-marathon-14569496

 

MARATHON RUNNER HELPING 7-YEAR-OLD CANCER BOY

The mother of a 7-year-old boy who needs life-saving treatment has thanked a London marathon runner for pounding the tarmac in 23C heat to fundraise for him.

Stacey Harper, 40, is now in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest woman to run the marathon dressed as Elvis. She hopes to have raised £2,000 for her nephew, Harry Addy, who has a spinal cord tumor and rare brain disease. Harry’s family need to raise £70,000 for specialist Proton therapy treatment overseas, as it’s not available on the NHS. Harry is now undergoing weekly chemotherapy treatment at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. “He’ll still need proton treatment but we are trying to put it off for as long as possible,” his mom said. Ms Harper, 40, said: “It is heartbreaking to see a child go through what Harry has.” She said after the race: “It was a lot hotter than I was expecting it to be but it was good and I got it done. “The wig was probably the worst bit. I knew I couldn’t take it off or I would lose the record. The more water I put on, the heavier the costume got.” She said the support was “absolutely amazing”. To donate for Harry visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/protons-for-harry

Source: http://www.northnorfolknews.co.uk/news/mum-of-harry-addy-seven-thanks-norfolk-marathon-runner-for-fundraising-1-5487547

 

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 16

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping children with cancer overcome life-threatening challenges. 

COMPLETING PT WITH SUPRISES

Hudson Brown, a 5-year-old from Michigan in the US who was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, has just celebrated the completion of his 30 proton therapy treatments and was treated to a surprise “Transformers” party. 

Hudson was diagnosed after suffering from severe headaches that made him scream in pain. His parents rushed him to the emergency room and scans revealed that a large tumor called medulloblastoma had developed in the back of his brain and on top of his brain stem. “One day, my 5-year-old is going to pre-K, and the next day his whole world is turned upside down,” said his mom Megan, 36. Hudson underwent surgery that removed 90% of the tumor, and doctors suggested proton therapy at Beaumont’s new center in Royal Oak to be the next step of his treatment. “We felt so blessed that the center is only 30 miles from our house,” Megan said. Hudson’s doctor at the center said the tumor caused him to have typical symptoms, including unsteady gait, headache and vomiting, and presented several episodes of confusion, not being able to recognize his own parents. Hudson received a total of 30 proton treatments over a 6-week period, 5 days a week, and last Friday marked the last day of his treatment course. To celebrate, Hudson was treated to a surprise “Transformers” party, as he is a huge “Transformers” fan. He also received a video message from “Transformers” movie star Mark Wahlberg, who also provided hamburgers, Hudson’s favorite food, for guests to enjoy. His doctor said the 5-year-old still has a “minor amount of unsteady gait, which, with physical rehabilitation, should steadily improve. The proton therapy should decrease the risk of any treatment-related secondary cancer in Hudson over the next several decades.” Hudson will next have chemotherapy at St. John after a 4-week break.

Source: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/life/wellness/2018/04/13/year-old-completes-cancer-radiation-surprises/33815827/

 

GIVEN THE ALL-CLEAR ON A FRIDAY 13TH

Lily Douglas, a brave 10-year-old from Perth in the UK, has just been given the all-clear although doctors told her she had a 5% chance of survival when she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma last year. 

Lily was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer last year, for which she had to undergo surgery to remove her shoulder blade and travel to the USA for pioneering treatment. Only 30 people in the UK are diagnosed with the rare form of cancer every year. On Friday 13th, Lily repeated the journey to Florida with her mom Jane and grandmother Mary to have several scans that revealed she is now cancer-free. Writing on a social media page that charts her battle, Lily wrote: “Who said Friday the 13th is unlucky? My scans are clear, I am cancer free.” She added: “I will get scans when I get home from America and, providing nothing changes, I am on the mend. I need to do a lot of hard work for the rest of my life with diet and exercise but I am a very lucky girl to be here and cancer-free.” The inspirational schoolgirl said that her fight against all the odds showed nothing was impossible. She said: “Don’t dwell on numbers. Stay positive and live life to the full.”

Source: https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/friday-the-13th-its-the-best-day-ive-ever-had-brave-lily-finds-out-shes-free-from-rare-cancer/

 

FIRST PATIENT TREATED WITH PT IN THE UK

A new form of radiotherapy known as high energy proton beam therapy has been used for the first time in the UK. The treatment is expected to lead to better clinical outcome for about 9,000 patients a year. 

The state-of-the-art treatment was given to a pioneering prostate cancer patient at the new Rutherford Cancer Center in Newport, South Wales, operated by the private company Proton Partners International. Within 3 years, the UK is expected to have at least 6 proton beam centers, 2 in the National Health Service and 4 run by Proton Partners for both private and NHS patients. Until now, British cancer patients have had to travel abroad to receive proton therapy at clinics in the US and elsewhere in Europe. Proton Partners has estimated that about 9,000 of the 150,000 cancer patients who receive radiotherapy every year in the UK “would have a better outcome” if they were treated with proton beams. The company’s centers will have a capacity of about 500 patients a year, and each center will cost about £35m to get fully operational. The company’s long-term aim is to build 8 centers in the UK. The NHS is also building higher capacity proton beam centers at the Christie Hospital in Manchester and University College London Hospital, where work is scheduled to begin by the end of 2018 and 2020, respectively. Making the treatment available in the UK has the advantages to to significantly reduce its cost and to avoid the effect long-distance travelling can have on patients and their families.

Source: https://www.ft.com/content/7a15b9e2-3d89-11e8-b7e0-52972418fec4

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 15

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping patients with cancer overcome life-threatening challenges. 

COMPLETING PT FOR RARE CANCER

When Tracy Clifford, 58-year-old, was diagnosed with chordoma, he had no idea of the 2,400 mile journey he’d be undertaking on his way to Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, for proton therapy.

Tracy was diagnosed with cancer after he visited his doctor for tailbone pain. An MRI showed abaseball-sized tumor on the base of his spine attached to his sacrum, and a subsequent biopsy confirmed he had a rare form of bone cancer called sacral chordoma. Tracy and his wife Karin immediately sought information and opinions. They learned that surgery was the most common treatment but can sometimes be tricky depending on the tumor location. “We were told that I should prepare myself for the loss of functionality below the waist – including bowel, bladder and sexual functions. Even with surgery, there was a high risk of recurrence. That’s when we began to research other options, such as radiation therapy,” Tracy recalls. The couple then met with a radiation oncologist, who explained that in cases where surgery is not an option or the outcome of surgery was unacceptable, people turn to definitive radiation therapy, which refers to curative radiation. Tracy and Karin wanted to gather as much information as possible before making a decision. “You have to understand, because this cancer is so rare, there is limited research available, and it seemed everyone I spoke with had a different opinion,” Tracy recalls. “I then determined, definitive radiation therapy was the way to go, and I liked what I heard about the advantages of proton beams precisely targeting the tumor and stopping, sparing nearby tissue from harmful radiation.” About 3 months after his cancer diagnosis, Tracy traveled to Royal Oak in late January to begin his proton treatments. On Tuesday, April 3, he completed his 9 weeks of treatment.

Source: https://www.beaumont.org/health-wellness/news/california-mans-research-leads-him-to-beaumonts-proton-therapy-center

 

DAD OF TWO CLAIMING PT SAVED HIS LIFE

Eamon Jackson, a 64-year-old engineer from Ireland who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and flew 1,000 miles to Prague for proton therapy, claims the pioneering treatment saved his life as he is now cancer free.

Eamon, dad-of-two, was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine check up of his PSA levels, a test that measures the amount of prostate specific antigen in the blood. “I had no other symptoms apart from my high PSA level, so the diagnosis did come as a shock,” he recalls. “There was nothing else to suggest I had cancer at all.” Eamon went against the advice of specialists in his country and decided to undergo proton therapy in the Czech Republic, as this type of treatment is not yet available in Ireland. “My doctor in Ireland advised me not to go for it. His attitude was to see what happened. I told him I was going to have it done,” he said. Eamon is among 3,500 Irish men diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. He is now cancer free thanks to proton therapy.

Source: https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/dad-two-claims-pioneering-treatment-12310421

 

CANCER SURVIVOR HELPING OTHERS

Jim Sundberg, a 66-year-old former Rangers catcher from Virginia, USA, has just finished a full year of battling prostate cancer, but once again has come out on the winning side and is now back to full-speed ahead.

Jim was diagnosed with prostate cancer in August 2016 after his PSA level started elevating. “I had an MRI that showed suspicious tissue and they did a biopsy and there were some aggressive cells,” he recalls. “I spent 6 weeks trying to decide the right kind of procedure, went through the process and landed on doing proton beam”, which is a form of targeted radiation using a focused ray of proton particles to destroy cancerous tissues. “For me, this confirmed why I am a man of faith,” Jim said. “They were providing the worst-case scenario and the best-case scenario turned out. And when I did my latest checkup, my doctor who has been doing this for over 25 years said he had never seen such good test results. So I’m very confident that it is gone. If it does return there are ways of treating that. This is the year of moving forward. I had time to rest and refresh and think about the next step.” Cancer does not appear to have slowed Jim down, the next step being a website that he and his wife are launching, called “Legacy matters”, with the objective to help people focus in and prioritize things in their life that matters most to them and others. After spending 35 years in baseball, Jim is ready for the next challenge, and prostate cancer will not be a part of it.

Source: https://www.mlb.com/news/jim-sundberg-aims-to-spread-positivity/c-266110794

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 14

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope in the future to patients struggling with cancer. 

RAISING FUNDS FOR BOY’S OVERSEAS TREATMENT

Harry Addy, a 7-year-old boy from the UK suffering from a spinal cord tumor, needs specialist proton therapy overseas. As the treatment is not available on the NHS, his family are desperately trying to raise £70,000.  

Harry already had an operation to remove the tumor a few years ago, but has since then developed leptomeningeal disease in the center of his brain. His dad Jamie said: “Things have not gone very well for Harry since the operation. He’s had to learn to walk again, made countless hospital trips, had MRI scans, physiotherapy and an 18-month course of chemotherapy to stop the tumor from growing. But it’s still growing and he now has a disease in his brain.” Doctors have suggested that he undergoes radiotherapy treatment in the UK to stabilize the growth of the tumor, but his parents want him to undergo a less invasive form of treatment called proton therapy in Essen, Germany. “We don’t want Harry to have radiotherapy. He’s only 7 and the long-time side effects could be devastating for him. Proton therapy is a better option for younger children as it is more precise in targeting the area of Harry’s spine and brain that are affected. If it goes well, then Harry would need MRI scans every six months. He’d always have the tumor and the disease in the brain. It’s about containing it rather than curing it. We cannot guarantee it will work but we think it’s the best option.” Various fundraising events are being held to support the family, which also comprises Daisy, 10, Tilly, 5, and Hattie, 1.

Source: http://www.northnorfolknews.co.uk/news/family-of-stalham-boy-need-to-raise-70-000-for-overseas-treatment-on-his-brain-tumour-1-5455854

 

PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVOR’S STORY

Alcide Hebert, from Louisiana in the US, discovered he had prostate cancer after his PSA levels doubled within in a year. When he was recommended either surgery or the “wait & see method”, he decided to look for other options.

Alcide was first told by his urologist to “wait and see”, but he was worried his PSA level would jump before the next visit if we waited too long. So he visited another urologist for a second opinion, who suggested surgery . “I told my doctor I didn’t want surgery because of the known side effects,” Alcide said. He and his wife, Sandra, began researching different treatment methods for prostate cancer. That’s when they heard about proton therapy, which is associated with fewer side effects than conventional radiation such as bowel problems, urinary complications or impotence. “Side effects were the big thing for us. I didn’t want to have them like you have with surgery such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction,” Alcide recalls. He began proton treatment at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center in July 2017 where he completed a total of 39 treatments. In addition to discovering the city of Houston, Alcide and Sandra found the support group ProtonPals, where patients are able to share their experience with others while making friendships. Today, Alcide along with his wife spend their time with their 5 grandchildren and on other days, the retired welder is busy woodturning making bowls and vases.

Source: http://www.protonpals.org/2018/03/29/alcide-hebert-prostate-cancer-survivor/

 

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE THANKS TO PT

Steve Roberto, a 55-year-old cancer survivor and transplant recipient who lives in Oxford, has overcome many hurdles.

Steve learned in 2013 that he had been living with hepatitis C for more than 30 years, causing him to develop cirrhosis of the liver and ultimately hepatic sarcoma, a rare cancer of the liver. “This journey started for me five years ago when I went to see my doctor after I was having issues with my stomach and was diagnosed with hep C,” he said. He was also found to have cirrhosis of the liver and was in need of a transplant. He was referred to specialists at UC Health in Ohio to help get a liver transplant and see how his condition was. “It wasn’t good because eventually I found out that I had a mass growing in my stomach,” Steve recalls. “They stuck an 8-inch needle in my stomach to see if this was some sort of abscess that could be drained, but it turned out to be a rare cancer of the liver.” All seemed lost at that point, and the odds were not in his favor for survival. But Steve’s case was presented during a multidisciplinary gastrointestinal tumor board at UC Cancer Institute, and the decision was made to have him go through revolutionary proton therapy, which ultimately killed his cancer. Now closer to full health, Steve received his liver transplant in February. “I didn’t feel this good when I was 40,” he said. “I can’t thank the medical staff for all that they did – they gave me life. I went from 3 to 6 months to live to having a new liver and hope for a future.”

Source: https://www.journal-news.com/news/unqiue-area-cancer-treatment-offers-oxford-man-hope-for-future/rZZeQUZc9m7JDm39QFp0rJ/

WEEKLY WEB REVIEW – WEEK 13

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping children with cancer overcome life-threatening challenges.

CHILD FIGHTING BRAIN TUMOR AS STORMTROOPER

Evan Cornett, a 2nd grader suffering from a brain tumor, is one of the first to benefit from the efforts of Hannah Heimos, a child life specialist who created a program painting radiation masks as popular characters to help put young patients at ease.

Hannah Heimos from St. Louis Children’s Hospital specializes in helping young proton-beam therapy patients face their daily treatments, which include wearing a mask pinpointing exactly where the proton radiation hits the tumor. Her first patient to receive a painted mask was 8-year-old Evan Cornett, who wears his “Star Wars” Stormtrooper costume to every appointment. Hannah painted Evan’s mask like a Stormtrooper helmet to help him feel more empowered during treatments and ease anxiety. Evan had around 30 treatments to undergo in his overall treatment. He is an athletic boy who enjoys being outside, and recently returned to school during a special Star Wars day at South School.

Source: http://www.lakenewsonline.com/news/20180326/eldon-child-fighting-brain-tumor-as-stormtrooper-with-special-mask

 

BOY WITH BRAIN CANCER

Jaysen Cook-Bey, a 9-year-old kid with brain cancer known as “Hollywood” around the Warrenville proton therapy center due to his sharp sense of style, served as a special guest at a recent fundraiser for pediatric cancer research.

Jaysen was diagnosed with brain cancer seven months ago after he suffered from severe headaches and his doctors ordered a head CT. Surgeons removed the tumor and confirmed he had medulloblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Since then, Jaysen has completed proton therapy in Warrenville, Chicago, and is now preparing to start his fourth of nine chemotherapy cycles. Despite his ordeal, Jaysen remains a curious, thoughtful kid and is looking forward to the end of his chemotherapy in October to eventually go back to school, as his family finally got some good news from an MRI scan last week that showed no signs of a tumor in his brain. For the past seven months, Jaysen has shown his family and everyone involved in his care his resilience and independence. He’s also shown empathy for other kids with cancer and served as a special guest at a recent fundraiser for pediatric cancer research at the Warrenville proton center. He assumed a responsibility with the role, hoping to inspire other kids who have lost their hair and a normal childhood to cancer. “You shouldn’t give up,” he said. “You should keep trying and trying.” The sharp dresser also dreams of becoming a Secret Service agent because he wants to “protect the president one day,” his mom said.

Source: http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20180326/you-shouldnt-give-up-boy-with-brain-cancer-a-special-guest-at-st-baldricks-event

 

BRAVE YOUNGSTER FLYING OUT TO AMERICA

Daniel Mason, a brave 11-year-old schoolboy from the UK battling brain cancer, is set to begin a course of vital proton treatments in the USA in the hope to save his eyesight.

Daniel was first diagnosed with a brain tumor 2 years ago. He courageously underwent a course of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor but surgeons were unable to remove it due to its location on his optic nerve. Daniel and his family recently discovered that the tumor had grown slightly and that he now requires proton therapy to save the sight in his right eye. The therapy being unavailable in the UK, Daniel is travelling to Jacksonville in Florida with his parents and sister for a 10-week course of treatment. “The tumor itself isn’t so bad, but this treatment is about saving his sight,” his mom said. “We’re so proud of the way Daniel has coped with it all. “He has kept us all going with his brilliant attitude.” The treatment is funded by the NHS, as are travel and accommodation for Daniel and his parents. A fund raising football match took place last week to raise funds to help the family with other costs, including travel and accommodation for Daniel’s sister Anna. “Football is a massive part of Daniel’s life, so this was a great way for people to come together for him. He even managed to continue playing football during his chemotherapy,” his mom said.

Source: https://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/brave-youngster-flying-out-to-america-to-begin-rare-treatment-1-9082028