Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment is reuniting families and giving hope to patients fighting against their disease.
Cancer all clear for teenage girl after PT in US
Kayti Spargo, 16, was diagnosed in September with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer behind her nose. After undergoing proton therapy treatment in the US, her overjoyed family is now celebrating, as she was given the all clear this week.
After her diagnosis, Kayti went to the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute, in Jacksonville where she underwent 10 weeks of specialist proton beam therapy. It was supplemented by chemotherapy sessions every three weeks. Now, it is the end of eight months of agony for Kayti, her parents and brother and sister, who were given the news they dreamed of on Monday. Kayti said: “I’ve always said from the start, it wasn’t a case of ‘why me?’ but what treatment I needed and how I was going to get it.” Her stoicism and strength of character amazed doctors on both sides of the Atlantic as she spurned painkillers and a feeding tube until her body became so weakened she had no alternative. Kayti’s road to recovery will help others too. She’s been asked by consultants treating her to write about her story to pass on to other teenage cancer sufferers. She’ll also take part in a six-month trial to improve the future treatment for other sufferers of the same rare cancer. Kayti is now throwing herself into her studies for the forthcoming 10 GCSE exams she faces starting next month.
Vow of love for cancer fighter
Catherine Hodgson, a 44-year-old woman who is fighting a rare form of cancer, has renewed her wedding vows as a celebration of life. She walked down the aisle again with her husband Andrew two weeks ago in front of 20 close family and friends.
Catherine was diagnosed with an orbital gland tumor in 2013. The tumor, which affects the glands above the eyelid and tear ducts on the left side of her face, had attached itself to her brain. She was admitted for treatment last year and underwent a major operation to remove the tumor. The surgery has left her without taste, blind in one eye and partially deaf. She was also given pioneering proton therapy over six weeks at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. She wore a specially moulded mask for precise accuracy in targeting the affected areas of her face.
Catherine said: “It was a difficult time as I was dealing with the effects of the operation and travelling to and from the North East. But the surgeons and staff were amazing and we’re all pleased with my recovery.” Consultants told Catherine she would not be able to undergo any more treatment and that there was no plan B. She is now waiting for MRI scan results. Catherine added: “We couldn’t have done it without the love and support of so many, we have been overwhelmed by the support of family, friends and neighbours who have all rallied round me and Andrew.”
First Irish Patient Treated for Prostate Cancer in Prague
April 21st, 2015 - The Proton Therapy Center in the Czech Republic treated its first Irish patient for prostate cancer beginning in mid-March.
John is 64. His family and background is in Ireland and he often still returns to his home country. He came to the U.K. to work, for more than 25 years, for the military forces. “I was on active surveillance for 18 months back home but felt like I was awaiting something to happen,” said John, describing his feelings of uncertainty. “At that time, I came across the stories of British patients treated in Prague and sat down to read PTC websites and watch the great videos of the center, located in a city I always wanted to visit.” John did not hesitate and decided for himself. “I just rang the head nurse of my urologist and announced that I was going for proton therapy.” He came for his first consultation and planning of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Then he went back to the U.K. to get some things sorted and came back in mid-March to start his five sessions of treatment. “In early stage cases of prostate cancer, PTC Czech has 97% curability and the data corresponds to the world clinical studies on proton therapy,” said PTC medical director. “So far I feel great,” said John.