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 from all over the world.
LITTLE FIGHTER NEEDS SUPPORT
Chereez Nel, a 3-year-old girl from Boksburg in South Africa who suffers from stage 3 undifferentiated soft tissue sarcoma, needs help to benefit from specialist proton therapy treatment in the USA.
Chereez was diagnosed with cancer after her parents noticed a slight swelling in her cheek. After seeing an ear, nose and throat specialist, the Nel family’s life was turned upside down, as Chereez was diagnosed with an aggressive cancerous tumor next to her brain, spreading from her head to her face. After several MRIs, bone marrow and CT scans, it was planned for Chereez to undergo surgery and chemotherapy, but the treatment plan changed after it was discovered the cancer had penetrated the skull. “Doctors decided not to go through with surgery as they would not be able to entirely remove the tumor due to the involvement of the skull base. The decision was then made to continue chemo and start radiation,” her parents said. Chereez could receive either IMRT or proton therapy, but protons would better spare healthy tissue surrounding the tumor, limit the side effects, and reduce the need of post treatment reconstructive surgery. “Proton therapy, unfortunately, is only available in the USA with costs running into the millions. This excludes any accommodation, living and travel expenses or more chemotherapy that might be needed when in the USA,” Chereez’s mom said. Luckily, the community has come together to help Chereez and her family where possible and a non-profitable fund has also been set up. “We believe that our daughter will fight this cancer with all she has and we believe she will be healed,” said her mom.
CANCER SURVIVOR HONORED BY SOCCER CLUB
The New England Revolution, an American professional soccer club, honored Cooper Martin, an young Acton native who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in December 2016.
Since being diagnosed, Cooper has undergone surgery, proton radiation therapy and chemotherapy, which concluded in early 2018. Now entering the second grade, Cooper looks forward to getting back to playing soccer this September. Cooper was honored during the Revs’ “Kelyn’s NEGU Crew” program during the Aug. 11 game against the Philadelphia Union with a post-game walk around the field alongside Kelyn Rowe as he thanked the fans. Kelyn’s NEGU Crew” is a program that gives young cancer patients associated with the Jessie Rees Foundation a gameday experience. This initiative was spearheaded by Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe, a longtime supporter of the Jessie Rees Foundation. The acronym NEGU stands for “Never Ever Give Up”.
MAN CLEAR OF CANCER AFTER PT
Nigel Bell, a retired businessman from Plymouth in the UK, has been given the all clear after he took matters into his own hands and travelled to Prague to get £30,000 specialist proton therapy treatment for his prostate cancer.
Nigel, a 74-year-old grandad-of-two, was diagnosed with prostate cancer eight years ago. He was initially monitored by doctors to see how the cancer developed, but things took a turn and two years ago it became clear it was time to take action. Doctors told Nigel he would need traditional radiotherapy. “They told me that I had an 80% chance of success with radiotherapy, but a 20% chance of either failure or complications. I’m not a gambling man, so I decided to look at other options,” Nigel said. Traditional radiotherapy can carry a risk of erectile dysfunction and incontinence, whereas proton therapy is able to spare surrounding tissue, meaning fewer side effects, but the treatment is not yet available in the UK on the NHS. Nigel had an initial consultation with the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic, who agreed they could treat his case. He said: “I found everything over there to be really easy. Having accepted I was suitable they confirmed the price, around £30,000. It was a lot of money but it was far cheaper than the US or what they are offering at the new private proton therapy center in South Wales.” Nigel spent 5 weeks in Prague having 21 fractions of treatment, and his PSA level is now down to 0.25. He said: “As far as the doctors are concerned they have cleared the cancer. My prostate cancer has been eradicated with little or no side effects, just a little soreness for a few weeks.”