A 15-year-old boy with a rare brain tumour is set to begin innovative world-leading treatment at the NHS’s new Proton Beam Therapy centre, at The Christie hospital in Manchester.
Mason Kettley, from Angmering, West Sussex, is one of the first patients to undergo proton beam therapy on the NHS in England following the completion of the new £125 million centre last year. The first patient, who is still undergoing Proton Beam Therapy (PBT), did not want publicity.
He was diagnosed with a brain tumour in October – a pilomyxoid astrocytoma – that was growing in critical areas of his brain, making it inoperable due to the risk of blindness and other catastrophic complications.
The treatment is a specialist form of radiotherapy that targets cancers very precisely, increasing success rates and reducing side effects, which makes it an ideal treatment for certain cancers in children who are at risk of lasting damage to organs that are still growing.
Consultant clinical oncologist Gillian Whitfield is leading his care at The Christie. She said: “With PBT, compared to conventional radiotherapy, there is less dose to surrounding normal tissues and less risk of permanent long term effects of treatment. This is particularly important for children and teenagers with curable tumours, who will survive decades after treatment and are at much greater risk of serious long term effects of treatment than adults.
PBT has been offered overseas to NHS patients who are eligible for treatment in England since 2008 in a programme that has to date supported approximately 1,000 patients.