Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping patients from all over the world in their fight against cancer.
COPING WELL WITH PROTON THERAPY
Ceri Jones, a 21-year-old from North Wales who had an eye removed and her face rebuilt after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, is coping well with pioneering proton therapy in Jacksonville, Florida.
Ceri was diagnosed after she went to the dentist thinking she had an abscess, which turned out to be adenoid cystic carcinoma, a type of cancer that affects the salivary glands of the head and neck. As the cancer was already in an advanced stage, she spent 36 hours on the operating table and had her left eye removed along with the tumor. Her upper left jaw and upper left facial bones were also replaced with titanium metal and her face was reconstructed. As Ceri can’t have standard radiotherapy in the UK because it could break down her bone structure and cause major problems to her face and mouth in the future, the NHS funded flights and accommodation in America in the hope that the 11-week proton treatment will kill off the remaining residual cancer cells and stop the disease from returning. The brave young woman has already undergone 19 of her 39 specialized proton sessions since flying out in the USA last June. “The proton radiotherapy is going really well, my face is quite red on the left hand side but it’s part and parcel of the treatment,” she said. “A small machine zaps lasers into the three areas where the cancer cells are. Each session lasts around 30 minutes. It doesn’t hurt.” Her last treatment will take place on August 23 and she will fly home to North Wales on August 25. After that, she will have regular scans for the next 5 to 10 years to make sure the cancer doesn’t return. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Ceri cover bills, food and travel expenses while in America.
DONATING TIPS FOR CANCER CARE
The Roxy Encinitas restaurant, which has been in downtown Encinitas, California since 1978, marked its grand reopening with a benefit event to raise money for children with cancer.
The Roxy’s wait staff and musicians donated their tips for the evening to the Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center and The Seany Foundation, a program for children with cancer, and donations from guests were received at the door. A silent auction was also held. Encinitas resident and Roxy owner Paula Vrakas wanted to give back to the community and support cancer care. Her father, Dan Vrakas, was successfully treated for prostate cancer at the Scripps Proton Therapy Center. The restaurant at 517 South Coast Highway, has been remodeled in the jazz and art deco style of the 1920s.
10-YEAR-OLD IN REMISSION AFTER PT
Alex Goodwin, a 10-year-old boy from England who has spent the last 9 months receiving treatments in America in a bid to cure his advanced bone cancer, is finally healthy and will be heading home in less than a month.
Alex’s issues began around Christmas 2015 when he started struggling to walk. By April of the following year, he was forced to use crutches as he lost the strength in his right leg. Even still, he was repeatedly misdiagnosed and dismissed by hospitals. In June 2016, tests revealed he had an aggressive form of cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma, and doctors told his parents he would probably only have a few months to live. His only chance at life was an incredibly complicated operation to remove his cancer-infected thigh bone – and due to the advanced stage of his disease, it could only be done in America. In January he was able to have the surgery in Kansas City, followed by months worth of proton-beam radiation. Surgeons have now replaced Alex’s right hip, thigh bone, and knee with mechanical ones. Earlier this month, he had a telescopic prosthetic femur put in, which can be electro-magnetized to lengthen as his body grows. His family expects to fly home on August 20, though he’ll be back in America roughly every three months for tests and to get the leg lengthened as he grows.