SEATTLE – Less than a year ago, Sophia Thompson, 7-year old, has been diagnosed with a rare form of soft tissue cancer called « rhabdymosarcoma » behind her right eye. Thanks to proton therapy, the young girl survived cancer with no brain damage and intact vision.
As Seattle’s proton therapy center was still under construction at the time she needed treatment, Sophia and her family travelled to the ProCure center in Oklahoma City. Over six weeks, she underwent 28 proton sessions.
Before long, her parents said she was playing pranks on the radiation therapists and giving them nicknames. The biggest challenge was getting her to stop giggling and stay still during each 30 minute treatment. During the therapy, her only side effects were redness and blistering around her eye. Since the end of her sessions, Sophia has experienced no long-term side effects. « She’s back to her old self, bursting full of energy, » her mother said.
Proton therapy is also used to treat patients with tumors in delicate areas such as the brain, spine, lungs or prostate. Sophia would likely have survived with conventional radiation, but she might have suffered from many side effects and damage to her pituitary gland, skull and eye.