Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is improving the lives of young cancer patients and giving hope to their families through gruelling treatments.
CANCER TREATMENT CROWD-FUNDING FOR 9-YEAR-OLD
Alex Goodwin, a 9-year-old cancer sufferer from the UK, has launched a bid to crowd-fund more than £120,000 for vital proton therapy treatment in the US.
Alex was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in his right thigh, a rare bone cancer that only affects children. His family is now hoping to raise money to pay for proton therapy, as the NHS may not fund his treatment. Alex’s cancer spread after his first round of chemotherapy, which his family said leaves him with limited options. He has been sharing his progress with his thousands of followers on Twitter and on his blog. His family say he has faced months of “constant pain and discomfort” and now relies on a wheelchair to get around. Alex took to social media to speak to others suffering with cancer and said his experience has been overwhelmingly positive. “I just love people so much and its great to see everyone helping me out,” he said. His father Jeff, a police officer, and his friends also plan to record a charity single to help raise the money. According to the Department of Health, proton beam treatment will be offered from April 2018 to up to 1,500 cancer patients at hospitals in London and Manchester, following investment worth £250m.
A PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVOR’S TESTIMONY
A 61-year-old blogger tells his story 6 months after he finished treatment for prostate cancer, as an advocate for state-of-the-art proton therapy.
“I went through Proton Therapy for my prostate cancer six months ago. It started for me in November 2015, I just turned 60. I went to see a urologist for the first time, who told me I had a slightly enlarged prostate and then drew some blood. A week later, I was informed that my PSA was 5.28 (instead of 2-4), and that I had to have a prostate biopsy. 4 of the 13 pops came back positive with microscopic cancer T2. My urologist recommended me to have robotic surgery to remove the prostate, but I wanted to get consultations on all the options available. After reviewing brachytherapy, photon radiation and VMAT treatment, I spoke with someone who had gone through proton therapy treatments at UF Health Proton Institute for prostate cancer. In the end, after looking at all the possible side effects, I chose to go with the Proton therapy. I started my treatments on Thursday 3/10 at UF Health PI. My only complication was a problem with slow urination, which was due to my enlarged prostate, getting irritated and inflamed by the radiation. On April 21st, I also began to get slight sunburn the size of a softball on both hips. On May 3rd, I completed my 39th proton therapy treatment. The two most important issues were that within 3 days, my PSA was at 1.9 and my 6 month follow up PSA level is currently 0.6. Any questions on this procedure you can email me at email@example.com.”
TEEN RETURNS FROM CANCER TREATMENT IN THE US
Chloe Yates, a brave 13-year-old girl from the UK, was diagnosed earlier this year with a rare form of bone cancer and spent 3 months in the US receiving treatments. She has now returned home after 10 weeks of intensive proton therapy.
Chloe began to complain about a pain in her leg at the end of last year. As her symptoms worsened and she began to suffer sickness and dizziness, her parents took her to the hospital where she was given the devastating diagnosis. Chloe immediately began 6 months of chemotherapy, but her cancer was so rare that it could not be treated in the UK, and she would need to go to the USA for pioneering proton therapy. The family thus spent 3 months in Jacksonville, Florida, where Chloe received specialist treatment. “It was daunting and frightening but she handled it brilliantly,” her mom said. The family have now returned home, where they are awaiting results to discover how the treatment went. Chloe turned 13 while she was stateside, and even made it to Disney World in between her exhausting treatments. Her mom said: “I can’t thank the community, our family and our friends enough. They’ve been fantastic support. All the community rallied round and fundraised for her. Although the NHS paid for the treatment we had to fund ourselves while we were over there. Her dad and I say all the time that we cannot explain how proud we are. She’s amazing.” Chloe has been given a Braveheart Award in recognition of her courage during her illness. But she was adamant she did not deserve the award, saying “there are other kids who are more poorly than me”. The awards honor children facing illness or adversity.