Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping patients of all ages fight against cancer.
MOM WITH BONE CANCER
Nicola White, a 32-year-old mother-of-two from the UK, was given just 2 years to live. The thought of leaving her children breaks her heart, but her only hope is state-of-the-art proton therapy, costing £75,000.
Nicola was first diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma in her right leg when she was just 15-years-old. She underwent chemotherapy and had surgery to remove part of her femur and tibia bone, which was replaced with a prosthetic knee and bone. But 5 years ago, after having her two children, Owen, who is now 12, and 8-year-old Ava, Nicola had to have an emergency amputation after her leg became infected, which led to septicaemia. The osteosarcoma then returned in her lung, and last year she was given the devastating news that the tumor was inoperable and she had only two years to live. “I was just thinking of my children. I can’t imagine leaving them when they need me, they are 100% dependent on me and that’s what breaks my heart, for me not to be around for them,” she said. Nicola has been told proton therapy is the only solution to prolonging her life but that a request by her doctor for NHS funding of the therapy was refused. Now she is hoping to raise at least £75,000 to cover the cost of treatment at a clinic in Europe or America. “The doctor said I should have proton therapy within the next 6 weeks,” Nicola said. “The longer I leave it the harder it will be to resolve. “People have already started to donate and the thought of people doing that for me is just overwhelming. I have no words to describe that feeling.”
HARRY’S BATTLE AGAINST CANCER
Uchenna Ikejjani, a former chart topping Nigerian singer better known as Carol Jiani, has issued an appeal for funds to secure life-saving treatment for her 17-year-old son Harry, who is being treated in London for a cancer at the base of his brain.
Uchenna, a widower and mother of 4 children, has spent the last six months in and out of hospital with Harry. “This is the biggest battle of my life fighting for my son to beat this cancer,” she says. “Words cannot express the pain that I felt when doctors confirmed that he had an aggressive rare form of cancer. According to the BBC, in 2008 only 201 cases of the disease had been recorded worldwide in the preceding two decades.” Earlier this year, Harry underwent surgery to remove the tumor but a recent CT scan and biopsy revealed the extremely rare form of cancer was still present. Uchenna has been told that proton therapy is his best chance of survival, but the state-of-the-art treatment it is not yet available in the UK. Harry will thus need to move to the US to receive treatment at the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute, where he’ll have to stay for about 3 months. Uchenna is appealing for funds to pay for travel, medical fees and accommodation costs. Harry said he likes to think positively, and does not listen to everything doctors say. He said, “I’m a very strong believer in mind over matter. Statistics are just numbers. Humans are so much more than numbers.” If you want to help Harry and his mom, please visit www.gofundme.com/22uagd8
NEW LEASE OF LIFE AFTER CANCER DIAGNOSIS
When John O’Kelly, a 66-year-old grandfather-of three, was hit with the devastating news he had prostate cancer, his world was turned upside down.
John was initially diagnosed after experiencing a sudden and frequent need to visit the bathroom. As his tumor was in the early stages and had not spread outside the prostate, his doctors advised active surveillance. However, through 18 months of so-called ‘watchful waiting’, John saw his PSA levels steadily rising. He said: “I wasn’t happy. I just thought ‘This isn’t me’, I’m not used to sitting and doing nothing. I thought it was only going to go one way, and by then I might have no option but to have fairly aggressive treatments, which I did not want to do. I had already read about how surgery could leave you with incontinence.” Determined to carry on living life to the full, John decided to go against the advice of NHS doctors. John, who is originally from Ireland, spoke to doctors in the UK who gave him the green light to travel to the Czech Republic for cutting-edge proton therapy. He said: “I went back to the specialist with 25 questions and then made a decision for me. Over Christmas I decided to go to Prague and I travelled out in February. They were exceptional. I had an examination and thought there might be a six month waiting list. I came straight back to the UK to arrange things and I was back in Prague within a week. They were reassuring and very professional and put me at ease from the word go.” John was treated with 5 hyper fractions over a 2-week period, going in for treatment every other day. He is now free of cancer and has regular PSA tests to monitor his prostate.