Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment is freeing more and more patients from their deadly disease and giving hope to families from all over the world.
Five-year-old boy free of cancer
5-year-old Ashya King, who was at the center of an international manhunt after his parents removed him from a UK hospital without doctors’ consent, has been given the all clear from cancer.
Ashya’s parents claim his life was saved in a “miracle” recovery because he was given treatment in the Czech Republic that was not available for him in Britain on the NHS. They describe the news as incredible. « If we had left Ashya with the NHS in Britain, he would not be with us today. He was too weak and would not have survived, », her mom said. The boy was finally allowed to undergo a 30-session treatment at the Proton Therapy Centre (PTC) in Prague for brain cancer after a long legal battle fought by his parents. His father said Ashya’s condition now justifies their actions. A High Court judge approved the move to take Ashya to Prague for proton therapy, which the PTC said is more effective than the radiotherapy that he was being offered on the NHS to treat his medulloblastoma. Ashya is now feeling better after 30 proton therapy sessions and is now heading back to his family holiday home in Spain. The NHS is building two proton beam centers, one in London and one in Manchester, which are expected to open in 2018.
Two months in America to treat rare cancer
Corey Spence, a 14-year-old girl from Riddrie, UK has made her family proud since she was diagnosed last July with a rare and aggressive form of muscle cancer called rhadbomyosarcoma.
Corey, who lives with her grandma, went to the doctor when she found a lump on the side of her head. « I went to the doctor and they couldn’t remove it. That’s when I found out it was cancer. It had spread to my lymph nodes. » She was given gruelling treatment immediately, and went through a 14-hour operation to remove the tumor. It involved taking skin from her back to cover the area on her head where the tumor was. She will undergo more work in the future. Then the teen left to go to Oklahoma for two months on New Year’s Day to receive proton therapy, not yet available in the UK. Today, Corey is back from America. She said: « They haven’t given me the all clear yet. I’ll be getting an MRI scan soon. I’ve finished all my treatment. I’m honestly just relieved to think I don’t need to do any more chemo. I just want to focus on getting better now. » Her grandma said: « I’ve really been inspired by Corey’s journey, the whole family has. There’s times when she’s been really down but she’s picked herself up. It’s been a long hard struggle, it really has. »
First PT center in Seattle celebrating its second year
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy, a ProCure Center that provides cancer patients with advanced treatment that minimizes radiation to healthy tissue, is celebrating its 2nd anniversary.
SCCA Proton Therapy unites top physician experts in cancer from UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Since opening, the center has helped care for nearly 450 patients and created approximately 80 jobs in the Pacific Northwest. Located on UW Medicine’s Northwest Hospital & Medical Center campus, SCCA Proton Therapy is the only proton therapy center within 1,000 miles of Seattle. To commemorate the center’s anniversary, patients, survivors, physicians, and local community leaders have gathered on Thursday, March 26, for an open house including a tour of the facility’s cyclotron, the core piece of equipment used to create protons. One of the patients helped by SCCA Proton Therapy is Robin Baird, who was first diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer in 2001. After successfully treating her tumor with surgery, chemo and X–ray radiation, she thought her journey with cancer was complete. However in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2011 the cancer returned. Robin found refuge at SCCA Proton Therapy. “The center is a sanctuary,” Robin recalls. “Everyone on staff is an incredible person, and I was really happy there.” Robin is doing well today and has become a patient advocate since leaving the center.