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Valentine’s Day Ideas

Every year on 14th February millions of people celebrate Valentine’s day showing their compassion and love for the special people in their lives. When you think of how to express your love on this special day, you may think of flowers, fancy dinners, chocolate, and greeting cards, but this day might be harder to celebrate for those battling cancer. However, it is more important than ever to show your love and support during this time. Here are some ideas that may be a little more low key, but still have a big impact.

❤ Write a love note or poem – express your feelings in writing and let them know how much they mean to you.

❤ Plan an at-home movie night complete with take-away and their favourite snacks.

❤ Buy your loved one a journal so they can write down their emotions and challenges. You can also start your own journal and together write about daily topics or achievements.

❤ Help complete tasks on their to-do list. Cancer can be exhausting and your loved one may need help crossing off some items.

❤ Have a spa night – candles, lotion, face masks, essential oil and a Zen playlist will help set the atmosphere.

❤ Spend quality time with your loved one without any distractions such as electronics, live in the present.

❤ Plan a game night – try a new board game, play charades or have a small tournament with all your favourite games.

❤ Have your own private book club – is there a book you both wanted to read? Get two copies and spend the evening reading and discussing the book.

❤ Cook their favourite meal or recreate their favourite restaurant – sometimes going out can be exhausting so bring the experience to your home.

Are there any ideas that you think we should add to our list? Let us know in the comments ⬇

Extreme hypofractionated proton radiotherapy for prostate cancer using pencil beam scanning: Dosimetry, acute toxicity and preliminary results

Prague Proton Therapy Medical Team Publishes their Latest Results, Using Proton Therapy to Treat Prostate Cancer.

Several treatment options exist for managing prostate cancer in men. Surgery and conventional radiotherapy have been shown to be equally effective at treating prostate cancer, however conventional treatments such as these can result in side effects that can reduce overall quality of life. Proton therapy is equally effective at treating prostate cancer, however causes less side effects, thereby preserving the quality of life of patients during and after treatment.

Proton therapy has been used to treat prostate cancer for over 25 years. Doctors at the Proton Therapy Center (PTC) in Prague have been treating prostate cancer with proton therapy since opening their facility in 2012. The Prague Proton Therapy Center uses the most advanced form of proton therapy available known as ‘Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy’ (IMPT) – otherwise known as ‘Pencil-Beam Scanning’ (PBS). This highly accurate form of proton therapy allows high doses of cancer-killing proton radiation to be delivered to the tumour, while sparing healthy surrounding tissue from harm.

The PTC medical team have published their latest treatment findings, using IMPT proton therapy to treat prostate cancer. Their success in treating prostate cancer with proton therapy was published in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology (the Official Journal of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists).

This study follows the progress of 200 prostate cancer patients that received an advanced and accelerated proton treatment program. The results show that this treatment is extremely effective at treating and removing prostate cancer. The research also shows that proton therapy for prostate cancer results in extremely low side effects. The PTC medical team was able to successfully remove the prostate cancer with almost no side effects using an accelerated, 2 week treatment schedule.

Side effects to the bladder and bowel are commonly reported among patients undergoing conventional radiotherapy for prostate cancer. The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) rates side effects on a ‘grading’ scale from 0 (none) to 4 (severe). Patients examined during the PTC study experienced an extremely low degree of bladder side effects, or in many cases, no side effects at all (grade 0). Only 22.5% of patients experienced grade 2 side effects. The majority of these grade 2 side effects completely disappeared following treatment. Patients undergoing treatment experienced absolutely no severe (i.e. no grade 3 or 4) bladder-related side effects.

In addition to low bladder-related side effects, patients undergoing proton therapy in Prague experienced virtually no bowel side effects. 20% of patients experienced mild, short-term bowel-related side effects that disappeared following treatment. Importantly, 80% of patients experienced no bowel-related side effects during or after treatment. Excitingly, no patients experienced severe (grade 3 or 4) side effects!

To read more about their latest results using proton therapy for prostate cancer, click here.

Comparative Effectiveness of Proton vs Photon Therapy as Part of Concurrent Chemoradiotherapy for Locally Advanced Cancer

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia published retrospective, nonrandomised comparative effectiveness study that compares proton versus photon therapy for concurrent chemoradiotherapy of locally advanced cancer.

The authors compared adverse events associated with unplanned hospitalisations among 1,483 adult patients with nonmetastatic, locally advanced cancers treated with concurrent chemoradiotherapy and proton therapy (391 patients) or photon therapy (1092 patients). The results were published in August 2019 in JAMA Oncology. This study found that proton therapy significantly reduced severe adverse events in adults with locally advanced cancers without affecting outcomes when compared with photon therapy.

Concurrent chemoradiotherapy can be associated with substantial toxicity, including
oral mucositis, oesophagitis, nausea, vomiting, signifiant weight loss, and radiation-induced lung injury that can result in unplanned hospitalisations, emergency department visits,
treatment interruptions that can diminish the effectiveness of treatment, and decreased patient performance status.

Proton therapy as part of concurrent chemoradiotherapy may be able to reduce treatment toxicity, but limited data have been so far available comparing results of proton chemoradiotherapy with chemoradiotherapy delivered with photon therapy, and proton therapy remains unproven in this setting. This comparative effectiveness cohort study focused therefore on the rate of severe 90-day adverse events associated with unplanned hospitalisations.

The study comes to a result that compared with photon therapy, proton therapy was associated with a nearly two-thirds reduction in 90-day severe adverse events associated with unplanned hospitalisations. Proton therapy was also associated with significantly lower risk of a decline in Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status and significantly less risk of adverse events causing impairment in patients’ instrumental activities of daily living.

Proton therapy was also shown to be equally effective at treating the cancer – disease-free and overall survival outcomes were similar between the two groups, which included patients with head and neck, lung, brain, oesophagus/gastric tract, rectum, and pancreas cancers.

Before this study, data on the toxicity differences between proton vs photon chemo-radiotherapy have been limited, with relatively small patient numbers, although most studies have found a toxicity advantage and/or dosimetric advantage in favour of proton chemoradiotherapy.

This study mentions 3 important implications for future research:

  • First, proton therapy’s lower observed toxicity raises the possibility that the higher up-front cost of proton therapy may be offset by cost savings from reduced hospitalisations  and enhanced productivity from patients and caregivers.
  • Second, the lower observed toxicity of proton therapy offers an opportunity to explore clinical trials combining proton therapy with intensified systemic therapy and/or dose-escalated radiotherapy, which may, in turn, improve survival outcomes.
  • Third, proton therapy may allow also older, sicker patients with more comorbidities to receive the most effective combined-modality treatments.

James’ Experience At PTC

We would like to share this note we have received from James, who has been treated here at the Proton Therapy Center for his prostate cancer.

Along this path of life, I have met many people. This Institution of the Proton Therapy Center, and even of the Bulovka Hospital, in Prague has been an experience that merits comment. For me, it primarily has to do with the demeanour and quality of the staff I have encountered at all levels. While I do not speak Czech, I have observed the interrelationships between the staff and patients, from children to adults, to be what it should be in all hospitals. There is a great respect from, between and towards both sides, I have met doctors, nurses, various disciplinary specialists, administration and ancillary staff. We have talked, they listen, they respond and any issues, from getting a cup of coffee to knowing what a specialist wishes me to do or that that person wishes to do with or to me, is resolved in a civilised manner. A mutual satisfaction is achieved and we all can procede on our own paths when we part.

Head & Neck Cancer International Conference 2019

This conference will offer an opportunity to discuss the issues of Head and Neck Cancer from the perspective of health professionals and patients and also to review the latest services and treatments.

Dr Eliška Rotnáglová, Ph.D., one of the Prague Proton Therapy Center´ ENT specialists, will discuss the side effects of proton radiotherapy in head and neck cancer patients. Dr Rotnáglová will also present the Proton Therapy Center´s experience with proton radiotherapy.

Dr Rotnáglová reached her Ph.D. focusing on HPV involvement in oropharyngeal carcinogenesis at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery of the 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, and Motol University Hospital in Prague. Dr Rotnáglová gained most of her experience with head and neck cancer patients at Motol University Hospital.

When?

Thursday 7th November @ 11am

Where?

Hilton Brighton Metropole
Kings Rd, Brighton
Kings Road
Brighton
BN1 2FU
United Kingdom

The Head and Neck Cancer International Conference 2019 is organized by The Swallows, Head and Neck Cancer Support Group. For more information, please visit: www.yourcancerjourney.org.uk