Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope and offering new options to cancer patients from all around the world.
CROWDFUNDING FOR ALISON
Alison, a 38-year-old a teacher, wife, sister, daughter, friend and mom of 2 children, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2013 when her first born was just 18 months old.
When she was diagnosed, Alison had to stop teaching to have an operation to remove the tumor and started chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Treatment went well with no signs of spread of the disease. However the cancer was a rare aggressive type called TNBC or triple negative breast cancer, and in 2015, just a week after her 2nd child was born, she found out the cancer had spread to lymph nodes below her collar bone and down her chest wall. Now stage 4, Alison was told she could have just months left to live, and she immediately started further treatment, juggling chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a new baby and a very active 4 year old. Cruelly, the cancer spread to her lungs and under her armpit. The NHS have now offered a further course of chemotherapy which cannot cure her but will hopefully give her a little more time with family and friends. After their own research, Alison and her family found potentially lifesaving targeted treatment available in Germany. Alison has been accepted as a good candidate for the treatment, which is unfortunately not available on the NHS and is so expensive that her family and friends are trying to raise money to pay for it themselves. If you want to try and help raise as much money as possible towards Alison’s treatment, feel free to visit her JustGiving page.
CANCER SUFFERER ESCORTED TO PROM BY 80 BIKERS
Emilia Harding, a 16-year-old from the UK suffering from synovial sarcoma, has been taken to her school prom in style by around 80 bikers from The Laughing Lunatics Bikers group and other bikers from across the valleys.
Emilia was diagnosed with cancer on New Year’s Eve after a lump was discovered on her thigh. After undergoing treatment and having the tumor on her leg removed, Emilia’s mom Katie said she wanted her daughter to have an unforgettable prom. The 35-year-old said the year has been extremely difficult for the family but making Emilia smile was the main priority: “She has been through so much, we all have. It has been the worst year in my life by far. It was complete shock as it’s quite rare for teenagers to get synovial sarcoma, it is mainly adults who get it. I wanted to do something for Emilia’s prom so I put a request on the Laughing Lunatics Bikers group to come to her prom and they said yes. At first, Emilia was slightly embarrassed, at 16-years-old you know you’re bound to be. But on the night from the point she left the house she didn’t stop smiling.” The bikers escorted Emilia and her friends to their Blackwood Comprehensive School prom in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Emilia’s mom said that the doctors believe the cancer is gone but she is now waiting to undergo proton therapy for the next month. The 16-year-old will go on to attend Crosskeys College in September.
LONG-AWAITED PT NOW AVAILABLE IN ST. LOUIS
Steven Osborne, a 33-year-old father-of-four suffering from a brain tumor, was the first patient to start proton treatment in St. Louis last week. He will spend 30 to 45 minutes in the proton machine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital every day for the next 7 weeks.
After decades of planning and years of delays, proton radiation was delivered last Thursday to the first patient in St. Louis. Dr. Jeffrey Bradley, director of the Barnes’ Kling Center for Proton Therapy, said the new proton machine could be appropriate for about 10% of patients receiving radiation treatments at the hospital, mostly for cancer of the head, neck and spine. Steven is a good candidate for proton therapy because his tumor called chondrosarcoma is located behind his eye at the base of his skull, and traditional X-ray radiation could cause more damage to surrounding brain tissue, putting his eyesight at risk. Moreover, chondrosarcomas at the base of the skull like his have relatively long track records with the therapy. Children with cancer are also good candidates for protons because they are particularly susceptible to the potential side effects of radiation, including learning disabilities, hearing loss, stunted growth and secondary cancers.