Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope to cancer patients of all ages.
HELP EVE CELEBRATE HER BIRTHDAY
The family of Eve Gascoigne, a 6-year-old brave little girl from the UK who was diagnosed with an extremely rare brain tumor, have appealed to the public to send her birthday cards to celebrate her recovery.
Eve was diagnosed with myoepithelial carcinoma, a very rare brain tumor that only affects eight people globally, after a routine visit at the optician’s in November 2016. She was only expected to get a new pair of glasses to correct a squint but was instead rushed for immediate surgery to remove the tumor. Eve’s family also set up a fundraising appeal earlier this year to send her to America for proton therapy, which raised over £17,000. Eve flew to Jacksonville, Florida for nine weeks of radiation therapy, which is hoped to have removed the full tumor. She has now thankfully returned to her usual life without any side effects and her mom said that she deserves a very special day. She has urged the public to support her brave daughter on her birthday on August 28 after a challenging year: “I thought it would be a really nice idea to try and get as many birthday cards as possible for Eve to open. She deserves a big day.” Eve will have her first MRI scan a few days after her birthday and her family are praying to hear good news. “She’s such a fighter,” her mom concluded.
REFLECTING ON THE FUTURE AFTER PT
Whitney Hoffer, a 33-year-old mom who found out she had cancer when she was only 18 weeks pregnant, has celebrated her daughter’s birthday last week, reflecting with thankfulness and hope for the future.
In November 2015, Whitney and her husband Billy learned that they were going to have their second baby. But a few months later, Whitney began noticing some symptoms that she attributed to pregnancy. “I noticed a swollen area on my neck and had some neck and back pain,” she recalls. When the pain and swelling had not gone away, she decided to see her obstetrician for an ultrasound and possible MRI. After many tests and a needle biopsy on the swollen lymph node, she was ultimately diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was 28 weeks pregnant. “I had four rounds of chemotherapy and then a C-section on, June 22 2016”. She completed her last chemotherapy infusion on Oct. 3, but her treatment was not quite finished: “Because they weren’t able to do some of the necessary scans when I was pregnant, due to concern for the baby’s health, they wanted to do follow up with radiation as a precaution,” she says. “They decided that I was a good candidate for proton beam radiation therapy.” She began her treatment in November 2016. “I had 20 rounds of radiation—daily treatments (for four consecutive weeks)—on my neck and chest area,” she says. She had very few side effects from proton treatments, and as a way to further celebrate treatment being in her rearview mirror and her ability and strength to overcome anything, she ran the Flying Pig Marathon in spring 2017. Today, with her scans showing no sign of cancer, she is just happy to return to normal, everyday life.
OVERCOMING MESOTHELIOMA WITH PT
Yvette King, a 52-year-old survivor of pleural mesothelioma, wishes to use her strength and story to assist others battling this aggressive type of cancer.
In October 2015, Yvette began struggling with breathing and developed an agonizing cough. Her doctor discovered a mass on her lung and she was rushed to the hospital to get multiple scans, which revealed a stage 3 pleural mesothelioma. She immediately began investigating on the web to learn as much as she could about the disease and meet other people fighting the same cancer. The next couple of weeks were filled with chemotherapy to shrink the golf-ball-sized growth on her lung. Two months into her treatment, the growth had diminished enough for her to get approved for surgery and she had her entire lung removed. Throughout the treatments, she constantly asked physicians to be up front with her. “I’m not scared of what you will tell me,” she remembers telling them. This strength guided her through all treatment choices and continues to guide her today. In March 2016, she began proton therapy in Maryland. Right after the diagnosis, she kicked her running into high gear, improved her diet plan and prioritized exercising. “I was home every day, so I aimed to exercise a lot to keep myself going,” she said. “Now I’m breathing much better than typical individuals breathe with two lungs.” After her diagnosis, Yvette launched an online journal to share her story, and it is her desire to inspire and help others that drives her today.