cancer recovery foundation uk blog

Comparing Radiotherapy with Proton Therapy in Childhood Cancer

Cancer Recovery Foundation UK and our US based charity Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation have provided £65,000 to help fund a leading collaborative international study, looking at the potential benefits of proton radiotherapy for young patients with brain tumours.

The Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA and clinicians at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust – Europe’s leading cancer centre – are aiming to compare the use of proton therapy in the treatment of the paediatric brain tumour, medulloblastoma, with conventional photon radiotherapy.

The study will be looking at the quality of life of patients who have survived medulloblastoma who have been treated at The Royal Marsden with state of the art photon therapy, including intensity modulated radiotherapy. Their outcomes will be compared with those from patients who have been treated for the same condition with proton therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr Henry Mandeville, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden Hospital, and lead investigator for the study in the UK, said:

This study is an important step to improving paediatric cancer treatment and survival. It will both inform the debate on proton radiotherapy and clarify its role in the management of paediatric cancers.

In this era of escalating healthcare costs and budgetary constraints, it is essential that the value of new medical technologies be measured and proven by comparing the health outcomes between old and new technologies.

Currently, 22 patients from The Royal Marsden have been recruited for the study, from a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds.

As part of the study, patients will be asked to fill out a quality of life questionnaire.

The study has received £65,000 in funding from the Cancer Recovery Foundation UK and US-based charity, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation. At The Royal Marsden the money will fund a Clinical Nurse Specialist for one day a week to help deliver the questionnaire and collate the data.

Recent research, including a 2012 report published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, has shown that cancer survival rates for children have increased to around 80%. However, treatment can sometimes leave children with side effects that can affect their quality of life.

Download a copy of the press release from Cancer Recovery Foundation UK here. 

Read more about the study here:

Funding for ground-breaking childhood cancer treatment announced‘ – Anaesthesia UK

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