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 now available at the Rutherford Cancer Centre North West in Liverpool.
Ryan Scott, from Wales, was diagnosed with a brain tumour (grade 1 craniopharyngioma) and was one of the first patients in the UK to receive high-energy proton beam therapy. Ryan was initially diagnosed and treated with NHS Wales and became one of the first to benefit from an agreement between Rutherford Health and the Welsh government, that allowed cancer patients in Wales to receive proton beam therapy at the Rutherford Centre in South Wales.
Ryan, 25, says: “I had been through a number of operations to treat my tumour. It was great to see this treatment becoming available in the UK. I was very pleased when my consultant recommended proton beam therapy and told me that it was available close to home in South Wales.
“I had been due to be treated with proton beam therapy over the course of six weeks in the United States, a disruption I was not looking forward to. A four hour round trip to South Wales for six weeks was a small price to pay given the alternative was going abroad.
“The process of undergoing proton beam therapy was much better than anticipated and I felt relieved that I had been selected for this treatment over conventional radiotherapy. There have been hardly any side effects and being able to sleep in my bed after a day’s treatment was a real plus. The treatment made such a difference to me and my life. I had no side effects such as hair loss and I have the Rutherford and NHS Wales to thank for that. The staff at the Rutherford were absolutely amazing. I entered the facility as a patient and left as a friend.”
It’s been two years since Ryan was treated with proton beam therapy for his brain tumour and he has been tumour free since and has been able to return to work as a carpenter. Ryan added: “I am now 90% back to my normal self, I still get very tired on occasions due to the location of the tumour on the pituitary gland but I have been able to return to my normal life and get back to work and spend time with my dog Jody. I got Jody two weeks before I was diagnosed so missed much of her growing up as a puppy.”
Besides being a carpenter, Ryan spends his spare time with his dog Jody on his campervan which he built during the Covid-19 lockdown with his dad.