Head of Support, Brain Tumour Support
This month, The Christie in Manchester has been gearing up to receive the first brain tumour patients to be offered proton beam therapy treatment in the UK.
Up until now those patients meeting the necessary criteria for proton beam therapy would have been sent to hospitals in either Germany or America.
Unfortunately proton beam therapy is neither new nor more effective than any existing radiotherapy treatments.
It has been used in a small number of countries for over two decades and whilst the limited research that has been done suggests that the advantage of proton beam therapy is that it does less harm to healthy tissue, there is no evidence to show that it is any more effective than the regular radiotherapy treatments used across the world.
Also proton beam therapy is only effective on a small number of brain tumour patients mostly children and young adults. The tumour needs to be relatively small and clearly defined: if the tumour is large and/or ‘spaghetti like’ the treatment is not as effective as standard radiotherapy. This is of course not what patients and their loved ones want to hear. Sadly we are still waiting for the next major development.
Having said that, for the small number of brain tumour patients for whom proton beam therapy is appropriate, the advantages of not having to travel abroad are substantial. The plan is that all patients needing proton beam therapy will eventually be treated in the UK either at Manchester or at a second proton beam therapy unit currently being built in London. That can only be good news for patients in the UK.
If you would like support or information on coping with a brain tumour diagnose then please do contact our support line 01454 422701 or email@example.com