Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope to patients fighting against their disease and improving quality of life during and after treatment.
BOY FIGHTING CANCER TOURS NEW FIRE HOUSE
This past Sunday, a firehouse in New Brunswick received a special visitor: a little boy from Hawaii, who is in New Jersey for cancer treatment. Trucker Dukes, 2-year-old, was diagnosed last year with stage IV cancer.
Exactly one year ago this week, at Thanksgiving, Trucker was diagnosed with a type of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. “He was teething, and it seemed hard for him, harder than with the other kids,” his mother said. The family has 3 other children, ages 10, 8 and 6. Tests revealed a growing tumor, which was already stage IV when it was diagnosed. He and his mom have to fly back and forth every two weeks between Hawaii and New Jersey to receive an extremely specialized form of proton therapy at ProCure center in Somerset. What makes it even harder, however, is being away from their other family members, especially Trucker’s dad, Josh, who is a firefighter in Hawaii. “I know he misses his dad; they have a really special bond,” she said. A member of the New Brunswick Fire Department was following Trucker’s story on Facebook, and when he saw that they were in New Jersey, he said: “I had to contact them. I said, ‘Hey, you’re so close. You have to come to the firehouse.” Trucker had a great time, riding on the fire trucks, exploring the station house and eating with the firefighters. Trucker is recuperating now, but his fight is hardly over, and doctors warned that his next round of chemotherapy would be very aggressive. “At this point I just want to get him home for Christmas,” his mom said.
A FAMILY’S FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR PROTON THERAPY
The family and friends of Josh McCormack, a 4-year-old British boy who was recently diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, are hoping to raise as much money as possible to help him and his family in his fight against cancer.
Nicola and Kevin McCormack were given the news just 3 weeks ago that their son has a malignant tumor on his brain stem. He is one of only 66 people worldwide to have been diagnosed with this condition. Josh underwent a pioneering operation to remove 75% of the tumor a fortnight ago. But he will also have to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It is hoped the radiotherapy will kill the remaining cancer, saving his life by preventing it from spreading to other parts of his body, but it will also prevent his head and spine from fully developing, affecting his memory, thoughts and learning ability. His dad said: “The operation was pioneering, it’s something they’ve only ever done in America. We got through that hurdle and thought it would be it, but then we were told that there would be permanent damage. His spine will never grow again and he’s only four – it’s just not fair. His brain will be affected with long-term memory loss. He’ll lose a few IQ points and he’s a very clever boy.” His family are hoping to travel to Munich to see whether Josh will benefit from proton therapy instead of radiotherapy, his only available treatment in the UK. His family have organized a sponsored Santa walk/run starting on the 12th of December, and they’re also encouraging supporters to grow a moustache for Josh, raising money in the process during his 6 week radiotherapy, which starts on Monday 23rd of November. To see the family’s fundraising page click here https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/JoshMcCormack
BEV CHOSE PROTON THERAPY INSTEAD OF X-RAYS
Following a partial mastectomy for cancer in her right breast, 70-year-old retired school teacher Bev Grant was about to start traditional X-ray radiation therapy when a friend convinced her to look into proton therapy first.
“I have a pit bull of a friend called Lyle who was going through proton therapy at Scripps for prostate cancer, and he told me I had to do it,” says Bev. “He said proton was leading-edge treatment and people were coming from around the world to have it.” When she tried to explain that she had already committed to traditional radiation therapy, Lyle wouldn’t give up. And then Bev learned that another friend’s mother was having heart surgery: “Her mother had had radiation for breast cancer 10 years earlier, and her doctors told her the radiation had damaged her heart,” she says. “That really got to me.” Bev ultimately agreed to meet with a radiation oncologist at Scripps Proton Therapy Center. She learned she would need just 10 proton treatments over the course of 2 weeks, as opposed to 6 to 8 weeks of traditional radiation therapy. Bev was impressed with everything about the proton therapy center: “Everybody was kind and professional and had a wonderful sense of humor,” Bev says. “More than any other time in my life, I resorted to humor to get me through, and they seemed to feel that and humored me right back.” Throughout her treatment, Bev was able to go about her daily life and activities, including spending time with her two grandchildren. While she felt a bit more fatigued than usual, she kept up her regular social activities and day trips. Bev’s prognosis is excellent. “I would recommend it to everyone. If you need radiation, you owe it to yourself to look into proton therapy.”