A 15-year-old with a rare brain tumour is to experience pioneering proton beam therapy at the UK’s first committed treatment centre. Mason Kettley, from Angmering in West Sussex, will get the highly targeted therapy, which aids shrink tumours and cuts the risk of side-effects. The new provision at the Christie Hospital in Manchester is the nation’s first and means cancer patients for whom proton treatment is considered necessary will no longer have to go out of the country for care. He was diagnosed with an unachievable tumour in October after suffering headaches and fading to put on weight. Doctors found the tumour growing in a serious part of his brain but could not operate because of the risk of causing blindness and damage to vital brain tissue.
The ground-breaking treatment uses high-energy protons, tiny particles confined within atoms, to target tumours. Mason said: “It’s a bit nerve-racking but this is a better choice than chemo because it’s more operational. I’m a bit nervous because the machine is a threatening size. But I’m also excited to start this treatment. The teen, who is making for his GCSEs, wants to become a cancer doctor when he is older. He said: “I’m so thankful to all the doctors involved in my care and I’d love to do what they do one day.” Mason, from Angmering, West Sussex, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in October. “I had some headaches and stomach pains and usual things, and got check-ups at the doctors,” he said. “My mum said, ‘He’s not gaining weight or growing.'” An MRI scan showed he had a rare pilomyxoid astrocytoma brain tumour. It couldn’t be operated on because of a threat of blindness and other “catastrophic” complications.
Until now, British patients requiring the treatment had to travel to countries including the US. Proton therapy hit the headings five years ago when the parents of a young cancer patient, Ashya King, took him from Southampton Hospital without his doctor’s agreement, because proton treatment was not then available in the UK. It ignited an international manhunt which led to Ashya’s mother and father being detained in Spain. The family was finally allowed to travel to Prague for Ashya to obtain the therapy. He is now 9-years-old and clear of his cancer. Consultant clinical oncologist Gillian Whitfield, who is leading his care at Christie, said: “Mason’s tumour is a low-grade tumour with a high chance of cure.” Prof Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, said: “We are pleased that we are able to offer this life-changing treatment for patients like Mason.”
Tim Jones is a contributing writer for this publication covering the business of technology, software development, and healthcare. He looks after most of the content which is been produced and manages to put it in well-mannered form. He also has knowledge of various health topics, and proficiency in word processing software and interactive technologies. He studied biology at the University of Texas and received a graduate degree in science, health, and environmental reporting from NYU. [email@example.com]