Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is spreading hope and arousing solidarity all over the world
2-TIME CANCER SURVIVOR HELPS KIDS IN THEIR FIGHT
After Susie Austin was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago and underwent a lumpectomy to beat the disease, she didn’t think she would hear the word cancer for a second time. But she received the bad news again in 2015.
“In March 2015, I found a small lump in my breast, but I figured it was probably just tissue changing and hardening from the radiation six years ago,” she said. Susie’s first cancer was a small ductal breast cancer, but this time, the tumor was about 7 cm large and already at stage IV. The tumor was to big to operate so doctors put her on chemotherapy to shrink it, and could remove it in January. Radiation was also recommended, and as she couldn’t have the traditional treatment because she already had dit for her first cancer, she was advised to chose proton therapy, a more precise form of radiation. She decided to go to the Texas Center for Proton Therapy. The waiting area was often filled with children because proton therapy is beneficial to patients whose bodies are still developing. When Susie was undergoing her 20th treatment, her husband heard a 2-year-old girl ask her mother if the treatment was going to hurt. Then she asked if she was going to die. “It broke my husband’s heart,” Susie said. “We got home and he said, ‘We are doing something for these kids.’” That’s when the Courageous Kids Project was born. The idea is simple: to provide children with toys and games to distract them while awaiting treatment. The organization should be fully established as a nonprofit by the 30th of this month. Susie added, “You always ask what you can do and how you can give back, and this was our answer.”
BENEFIT FOR 74-YEAR-OLD WITH CANCER
Betty Gann, 74, was born in Rutledge, USA in 1941. She’s been battling various types of cancer for about 20 years, but her most recent cancer diagnosis was detected in a lymph node in her neck.
As Betty has reached the recommended limit for chemotherapy and radiation therapy due to previous treatments for lung cancer, leukemia and tonsil cancer, doctors told her that proton therapy was her only treatment option. She is currently receiving proton therapy treatments at the Provision Center for Proton Therapy Cancer Treatment Center, located in West Knoxville. “They call my mother the miracle case because she has had cancer four times now,” Betty’s daughter said. “She beat it 3 times, and has had a heart attack. She is a strong and inspiring woman.” Betty’s insurance is covering 90% of the cost for 35 proton therapy treatments, leaving a total of $7,500 for the family to pay out-of-pocket. She is considered to be in a “critical state,” and needs to remain close to the treatment center. Her apartment near the center costs $2,000 per month. On Saturay, a benefit fish fry and bake sale raised $1,500 for Betty. “We are so greatful. The funds raised today will be used for my mom’s medication, transportation and housing,” her daughter said.
BRAVE TEEN TO BE TREATED IN USA FOR RARE BRAIN TUMOR
Harvey Mountain, a brave 11-year-old from the UK, will be one of just a handful of children sent to the US to get state-of-the-art proton therapy treatment for a rare type of brain tumor.
The young boy first had surgery 2 years ago for a craniopharyngioma, a rare tumor that grows at the base of the brain just above the pituitary gland. After doctors discovered the tumor had reoccurred, proton beam therapy was deemed to be the best treatment. Harvey will spend his 12th birthday in the US while he undergoes 12 weeks of specialist therapy in Jacksonville, Florida. The NHS is building 2 proton beam centers in London and Manchester, but they are not expected to be open until 2018. The NHS is thus is paying £80,000 for Harvey’s treatment in the US after doctors decided it was the best option for him. However, a fundraising campaign has been launched after the family realized they needed more money to pay for living costs in the US and bills back home so they can be at Harvey’s side. His mom said: “He will have treatment from Monday to Friday out there. He might become a bit poorly and lose his hair. We won’t know how well it’s worked until he comes home and has a scan 3 months after the treatment. We’re hoping the proton beam treatment kills the tumour.” Harvey left for America on October 23rd with his dad Neil, whose employer has launched a crowdfunding web page to raise funds for the family. Donations can be made by searching Friends@ West Yorkshire Windows on the www.justgiving.com website.