Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping patients from all over the world in their fight against cancer.
DYING MOM OVERWHELMED BY LOCAL GENEROSITY
Amelia Martin, a 41-year-old mom suffering from a rare and terminal brain cancer, has been overwhelmed by the generosity of her local community who helped her achieved her aim of raising funds needed for life-prolonging treatment.
Amelia was diagnosed with a papillary meningioma four years ago after getting pains in her heard that were initially mistaken for migraines. In December 2013, she underwent 14 continuous hours of surgery to partly remove the growth and had radiotherapy in January 2015 to stop it from growing back. She also had a second brain tumor fully removed by surgery in October 2016. But despite invasive treatment, doctors told her the tumor had returned in November and was deemed inoperable due to its location. Amelia launched a desperate bid to raise funds for cutting-edge proton treatment, as she could not bear the thought of not being there for her young son Dylan. In just three weeks, people have donated £40,000, which is enough money to enable her to begin treatment at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic. She said: “There are lots of lovely, kind people and organizations in my community and in some of the surrounding villages that have raised and are still raising money for my treatment. They are absolutely amazing.” Through the generosity of strangers, friends and family, Amelia is now due to start her proton therapy this month. She expected to be in Prague until mid-March.
PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVOR ADVOCATING FOR PT
Duncan Gregory, an engineer from West Hendred in the UK who survived prostate cancer thanks to proton therapy, has reiterated his call for the state-of-the-art cancer treatment to be offered as standard on the National Health Service.
Duncan was given the devastating diagnosis just days before Christmas 2016, and was advised to either have the tumor surgically removed or have radiotherapy, both of which having the potential to cause impotence and incontinence. Instead, he researched other options and discovered proton therapy, and decided to go to Prague in December to undergo proton treatment, for which he paid £34,000. The treatment , which uses a high-energy beam of protons, rather than X-rays, to deliver radiotherapy for patients, is currently paid for by the NHS since 2008 but only on a case by case basis. “The NHS should be looking at it as a default option for prostate cancer,” Duncan said. “The main thing is the lack of side-effects. I went over to Prague with several other English people and they are all now in the same boat as me with no side-effects.” Figures released by Prostate Cancer UK showed the number of men dying from the disease is now 11,819 every year in the UK, and revealed that the disease has overtaken breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer in the UK. “I would like to think these figures would act as a catalyst for change,” said Duncan.
SURVIVING CANCER THANKS TO PT
Walter Theiss, 66, never considered himself to be lean or slim, so the loss of appetite in the winter of 2017 and the resulting rapid loss of about 18 pounds in three weeks rapidly led him to think something was wrong.
As Walter was also experiencing some trouble with swallowing, his primary care physician scheduled a number of tests that ultimately revealed an oesophageal tumor. Walter immediately began to do some research on local specialists and asked around about the best doctor for this type of cancer “I had a friend who lives in our neighborhood and had the same type of oesophageal cancer two years earlier,” he says. “He had the same treatment that I had scheduled. Chemotherapy and radiation together, then a rest period followed by surgery. The one difference was my friend had photon radiation, not proton radiation. The proton therapy facility was not available at the time,” he says. Walter began his treatment in June 2017 as one of the first adult oesophageal cancer patient to undergo treatment at the Cincinnati Children’s/UC Health Proton Therapy Center. “I had chemotherapy once a week (five treatments total) at UC Health West Chester hospital, and then, I would go for radiation therapy at the proton center Monday through Friday for 28 treatments,” he said, adding that as a business owner, he continued to go into work for half days at his office in Roselawn. After completing chemotherapy and radiation in mid-July, he had surgery to remove the tumor, which had shrunk substantially, and some remaining lymph nodes surrounding it. While the recovery was tough, he now has no problems swallowing or eating regular foods. Today, his focus is on a move he’s been planning for several years: building a new home in Hilton Head and moving there in the spring.