Check out the latest news about proton therapy : this week, find out how this state-of-the-art cancer treatment helps saving young people facing the battle of their lives.
5-yearl-old saved by PT
Young Logan Green of Arizona was given just days to live, but now looks forward to his first day of kindergarten.
Last June, Logan was air-lifted to a hospital after he collapsed and was diagnosed with an aggressive and inoperable brain tumor. His doctors said he was likely to have only three days to live and advised against further medical treatment.
Fortunately, a second medical opinion led to successful surgery to remove most of the tumor. Logan still required radiation therapy to kill any remaining cells to keep the disease from returning : « after learning about the serious side effects that standard X-ray radiation treatment can have on children, we learned that proton radiation therapy is an alternative that can help minimize possible long-term damage, » said Logan’s mother.
Logan’s proton treatments have been delivered successfully, though it will take several years to ensure the tumor does not return. A conventional X-ray treatment beam would have continued past Logan’s tumor and irradiated healthy portions of his brain, face and throat, increasing his probability of side effects such as cognitive and memory problems, as well as secondary cancers caused by the radiation.
Now that Logan has completed cancer treatments at Scripps Proton Therapy Center in San Diego on September 23rd, he and his family plan to return to Arizona, where his kindergarten teacher has saved his seat in class, awaiting his arrival to school in October.
Proton Therapy for Ashya’s brain tumor
5-year-old Ashya King received proton therapy treatment in the Czech Republic for his brain tumor thanks to his parents, who faced an international police hunt after they removed their son from Southampton General Hospital on August 28 without medical consent.
Brett and Naghemeh King from Southsea, UK faced a legal battle to get their child to Prague’s Proton Therapy Centre (PTC) after removing him from hospital, with a High Court judge approving the move after they had been released from police custody in Spain.
The NHS has agreed to fund his treatment : « Now that Ashya is in Prague, it is clearly best that he continues to be treated uninterrupted so the NHS has agreed to fund this care, as requested by his parents », a spokesman for NHS England said. « We all join in wishing him well, and greatly hope he makes a full and successful recovery. »’
According to the PTC, Ashya’s medulloblastoma can really benefit from proton therapy, which can be much better modulated and precisely focused into the tumor volume, thus protecting surrounding tissue such as the heart, lung, liver and intestines.
Saving teens with proton therapy
Today, thousands of teens are in the fight of their lives : they are fighting cancer. One teenager from Florida, USA won her battle and hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Kathleen Patti, an 18-year-old survivor, is among a growing number of children and teens who are surviving cancer. In the 1950s, only 20% of pediatric cancer patients survived their diagnosis, but today the survival rate is 80%.
At 7, Kathleen’s radiation cured her cancer, but caused a secondary tumor. After chemo, she underwent proton therapy. It was able to kill her tumor and nothing else, as one of the things that makes this treatment so successful for children is its targeting radiation. Kids are still growing, so the less healthy tissue you hit with radiation, the better.
For Patti, two rounds of cancer was not something to fear, but rather, to overcome.
“I can’t imagine my life without cancer, it made me the person I am today,” Patti said