Proton beam therapy is an advanced form of external radiotherapy that uses high-energy proton beams instead of photon x-ray beams or electrons. Carefully measured doses of protons are delivered to the precise area needing treatment, using the latest IBA ProteusONE technology. This ensures that the delivery of proton beam therapy is highly accurate and prevents the risk of radiation reaching surrounding healthy tissue.
Radiotherapy is used to kill and destroy cancer cells. It utilises radiation in the form of high-energy x-rays, known as photons, to kill and damage the cancerous cells and prevent their growth and reproduction. It can be used as a non-surgical option to treat cancer, and it can also be used to shrink a tumour or in combination with other treatments.
The Rutherford Cancer Centres and Elekta are bringing the next generation of personalised adaptive radiotherapy technology to oncology centres across the UK, with the new MR-linac Elekta Unity available at the Rutherford Cancer Centre North West in Liverpool from late 2020.
Nicola didn't think for one second that cancer would affect her. Here she talks about the challenges she went through when diagnosed, her cancer journey at the Rutherford and how she is now looking forward to her future.
A healthy, fit and workaholic mother of two, Nicola initially felt something was wrong after feeling lightheaded and tiredness. She also reported feeling a lump close to her anus which her doctor thought to be a harmless polyp. When the pain got unbearable, it was decided a general anaesthetic was needed to investigate further.
Nicola was shocked to learn she had a very rare and aggressive cancerous tumour between her rectum and anus that was growing drastically. She found telling her family about her diagnosis extremely hard. She felt weak and exhausted and was daunted by the prospect of long hospital stays and potentially longer waiting periods. By this point, Nicola had undergone two surgeries and found the hospital stays particularly challenging, she did not want to face the prospect of a long battle with an aggressive cancer in an environment where she was just a number.
Having spoken to a friend who had undergone treatment at the Rutherford Cancer Centre, Nicola decided to look into this further. She felt assured by the personalised care and support at the Rutherford and decided that this was the right environment for her to find strength and inspiration for her battle against cancer. For Nicola, the key was to be in a place that gave her positivity and emotional strength.
Due to the extremely rare and aggressive nature of Nicola’s cancer, she underwent two surgeries that saw the removal of her anus and rectum. This meant Nicola was left with a permanent stoma.
After initially commencing her chemotherapy in London, Nicola decided to continue her treatment at the Rutherford and be much closer to home. She began six rounds of chemotherapy at the Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales in Newport. Despite being diagnosed with a rare cancer that has only ever been reported in a handful of people, Nicola felt in good spirits at the Rutherford centre and was able to continue with much of her daily life.
She has already undergone five rounds of chemotherapy and her treatment continues. Throughout most of her treatment, Nicola was able to run her own business and participate in charitable causes. She was able to depend on the support and care services of the Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales which kept her and her family in strong spirits, allowing her to spend more time doing the things she is passionate about.
Nicola has also chronicled her treatment journey on social media to help inspire and give strength to others who face cancer. Follow Nicola’s journey on Instagram @nicolaevansgl
Dedicated to providing the highest quality cancer care, with access to advanced treatments coupled with personalised care and support, some of our patients have shared their cancer journeys and their voice to help others in similar situations.