We can call it a tradition! Last weekend, Proton Therapy UK hosted the second annual meeting of former patients with more than 50 participants. As with last year, they met the members of the PTUK team, our medical specialists from the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, and, of course, the most important of all – other former patients. Our goal is not only to provide our patients with the best available treatment and care but also to stay in contact with them after treatment. This gives them a chance to meet people who have the same experience as they do. As our former patient Sylvia herself says:
“We met some lovely people who have been through the same experience and everyone spoke so highly of the Centre and the wonderful team for all their hard work“.
Of course, not only patients were present. English oncology specialists also attended to hear about treatment at the Proton Therapy Centre in Prague. They found it very informative and we were pleased to receive this positive feedback from Joan Sweeney, a Radiographer from The Rutherford Cancer Centre:
“It was wonderful to see how much your UK patients appreciated both the professionalism and care you and all of the Prague team provided for them during their treatment with you. You must feel very proud of all you have achieved in your Proton Centre.“
Again, we had several speakers who introduced our patients to what happened at the proton centre in the last year. The Medical Director of the PTC Dr Kubes, PhD., presented the latest results of studies that show not only the continuous increase in the number of UK patients but also the results of our treatment. He also introduced our new programme for the treatment of lung cancer and showed how the number of patients with breast cancer is increasing. The Head of Clinical Physics at the PTC, Mr Vladimir Vondracek had a very interesting presentation. If you wanted to know something about the history of proton therapy or how our equipment works, these behind the scenes facts were exactly what you were looking for. As our former patient John said:
“It was a lovely occasion and an interesting one too, made all the more remarkable by the strong sense of community and indeed family. What you are demonstrating is that where people genuinely care for those whom they are treating, this in itself promotes healing, recovery and well-being. You and your colleagues represent a model of excellence that deserves to be celebrated“
It is great to see that our former patients are happy to meet after treatment and spread the awareness about proton therapy treatment. As our Chief Treatment Coordinator Kate said:
“It’s amazing that you are willing to travel long distances to attend the meeting but more important that you feel the need to help potential patients. Every one of you went through the shock of a scary diagnosis and every one of you knows how difficult it can be. We try hard to help each patient understand their treatment options and make the best and responsible decision.”
This year, patients also had the opportunity to speak to the camera and contribute to the video that emerged as a reminder of our reunion and helps share the experience with other potential patients. It is really amazing to hear that people treated at the PTC in Prague are happy and do not hesitate to tell others about their treatment. There is no better reward for our team than seeing them living a normal life as they did before their diagnosis, with minimal or no side effects. It is just a few days after our meeting and we are already receiving a lot of positive feedback, like John´s:
“Thank you so much for your kind invitation to attend yesterday’s event at Imperial College. I spoke to two people who were wondering whether to have treatment and were persuaded to do so by what they saw and heard. “
There is nothing left to say, but to thank all of our former patients, who decided to join us on Saturday, shared their stories and enjoyed this special event with us. See you all next year!