2,000th proton beam patient celebrates end of treatment

A rugby-mad teenager who was told he had cancer on his 15th birthday is celebrating the end of his proton beam therapy (PBT) after becoming the 2,000th person in the UK to benefit from the treatment.

Ryan Scutt was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma in September last year. Nasopharyngeal cancer affects the pharynx and is thought to be associated with a virus that causes glandular fever and affects one in two million cases.

Various investigations eventually led to Ryan having a scan where the tumour was revealed occupying the nasopharynx, pressing on his pituitary gland, carotid artery and optic nerves. Two days later he and his family were told it was cancer.

A treatment plan was devised, first focusing on an intensive course of chemotherapy followed by six-and-a-half weeks of proton beam therapy. Following assessment by a national panel of experts, Ryan was accepted for treatment in Manchester and began a course of 34 daily proton treatments in December.

He was treated at the first NHS high energy PBT centre at The Christie which was part of a £250 million investment by NHS England and is now treating the vast majority of NHS patients referred for PBT. A second NHS centre will open later this year at University College London Hospitals. NHS clinical director for cancer Professor Peter Johnson said: “There have been huge advances in precision cancer treatment and proton beam therapy is just one incredible example. We are delighted that we have treated 2,000 patients, like Ryan, with thousands more to benefit from this groundbreaking treatment in the coming months and years.”

See the full report on page 4 of the May 2021 issue of RAD Magazine.

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