Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is achieving new milestones and helping more and more cancer patients fight against their disease.
A mom’s struggle against cancer
An Australian 31-year-old mother of four young children was recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer and told she had a chance of only two years left to live.
Melissa Quinn was diagnosed in June this year with cancer in her brain and in the soft tissue under the birthmark on her left leg. “I had cancer two-and-a- half years ago in the uterus, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that it’s come back, but I am still overwhelmed and scared,” she said.
The Australian Medical Board is covering 90% of the costs for her to go to California to receive state-of-the-art proton radiation therapy, not yet available in Australia. However, Melissa and her family need to make up the money for the eight weeks of airfares, clinical fees and everyday expenses. “We’ve estimated we need to raise $20,000,” she said.
For this reason, the Mel Quinn Fundraiser Bowls Day will be held on Friday, November 21 at 3pm followed by a Country/Western night.
1,000th patient at UFPTI
After recently treating its 1,000th cancer patient, the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (UFPTI) has hosted its largest fundraising venture of the year, « The Gala of Hope », on October 24th.
The UFPTI is one of just eight proton facilities in the United States and the largest of its kind in the world. Opened in September 2010 with an initial focus of treating prostate cancer, the institute now treats head, neck and brain tumors, along with lung and breast cancers. Pediatric patients are also taken care of through a partnership with Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. At full capacity, the UFPTI is expected to treat about 1,500 patients a year.
The institute recently signed an agreement with Strategic Alliance Holdings to serve patients from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as to provide training to physicians in Saudi Arabia.
The benefit for the proton therapy institute will directly support patient services to ease the costs of medical expenses : « To date, the Gala of Hope has raised over $1.5 million dollars to ensure that cancer patients’ have access to the medical treatment they need, » said Sarita Scott, a spokeswoman for the institute.
Proton therapy in North Texas
When Menay Harris from North Texas was diagnosed with a tumor around her optic nerve in 2012, her doctors recommended proton therapy treatment. So she had to travel all the way to Houston to get it.
« It was very difficult to leave Dallas for seven weeks and not have the support of friends or family, » said Menay, 45 . « It was a difficult journey that could have been eased by being able to stay at home. »
Dallas-Fort Worth is the nation’s largest metropolitan area without a proton therapy center. The nearest are M.D. Anderson or the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City.
Now two centers are under construction in North Texas. The facility is scheduled to open by September 2017. By then, patients like Menay will have their pick of either.