Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping cancer patients of all ages and from all over the world fight their disease.
RAISING FUNDS FOR 7-YEAR-OLD WITH BRAIN TUMOR
Kye Ryan, a 7-year-old boy from West Australia, was diagnosed in July with craniopharyngioma, a rare brain tumor that has already caused him to lose his sight. His family has called on the public to help them fund the vital treatment he needs.
Three months ago, Kye was taken to an ophthalmologist after his family noticed he was having trouble with his vision. His optical nerves were very swollen and he was immediately referred to get an MRI. The scan revealed a craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumor derived from pituitary gland embryonic tissue. Kye underwent emergency surgery to release the pressure that was causing his sight to be affected, and another surgey 7 days later to remove the tumor. He recovered well from his surgeries but has lost all vision, his dad said. The next step for Kye is to undergo proton therapy to eradicate the tumor, but it is not yet available in Australia. The family is trying to raise $100,000 for the journey, and has currently raised $11,600. “We are going through a process through the Australian Government to apply for funding for the treatment, which is up over $200,000,” Kye’s dad said. “Should we get the approval and go ahead with that, there are still going to be many ongoing costs for us as a family… and travel and accommodation for the 6 or 7 weeks he would be in the US. We are really hoping people are happy to help him get the best outcome out of this.”
PROTON THERAPY FOR GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER
Lucille Price from Maryland, USA, is a 78-year-old woman who was enjoying her retirement by traveling, shopping and staying active with her church, until she was diagnosed with vulvar cancer in 2012.
Lucille went through several surgeries but the cancer kept coming back. By May 2016, she had reached stage 4. Her pastor encouraged her to talk to her doctor about proton therapy. When Lucille found out that his type of treatment could minimize the radiation dose to her kidneys, resulting in fewer side effects, she decided it was the right choice for her. During her treatment, several women from church took turns making the 1-hour drive with Lucille to the Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC). After treatment each day, she was able to continue with her church activities and spend time with her friends. When she completes treatment, Lucille looks forward to traveling again. She has been to Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Tennessee and St. Marten. She hopes for another trip soon to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. “I love driving through the mountains, I could go there for every vacation!” Her physician said that for gynecological patients such as Lucille, proton therapy is a great option, as it spares the nearby healthy organs and tissue, resulting in less side effects on the urinary and bowel function as compared to traditional x-ray radiation.
MAN BATTLING BRAIN TUMOR SETS UP FOUNDATION FOR PT
James McCarthy, who is currently battling a grade 3 brain tumor, has set up the James McCarthy Brain Tumour Foundation to help brain tumor patients get proton therapy and to fund research into the condition.
James started displaying symptoms when he was only 2. “My parents took me to a psychologist because I had behavioral difficulties,” he said. In 2009, he had an epileptic fit whilst driving and crashed into a trailer. The hospital confirmed he had a malignant brain tumor. “It was a death sentence. I thought my life was over,” he said. Three years later, he got a degree in Business Management, but the growth returned in 2014. That’s when he set up his organization. James has undergone conventional treatment without success and wants to help others get the proton beam treatment he craves but hasn’t been offered. “I would like every brain tumor patient to have proton beam treatment under the NHS,” he said. “It is available in Prague for just £20,000.” In early September, he engaged into his Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge with his best mate and climbed the 3 Yorkshire peaks in pouring rain, which took almost 10 hours. “I have never been so wet in my life. I used cancer as my motivation to finish,” said James. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/james-mccarthy-2?utm_id=107&utm_term=xYV27zpb7.