A child under the age of 2 years old was diagnosed with thoracic spine Ewing sarcoma. This has been treated by chemotherapy and some of the tumour has been surgically resected. Complete surgical resection is not feasible due to the location of the tumour which extends into the spinal canal and therefore further surgery risks damage to the spinal cord.
Due to the complex nature of the child’s disease conventional radiotherapy dose cannot be contained solely to the area of the tumour which means normal tissues around the tumour will also receive a dose of radiotherapy. In this child’s case after the chemotharapy in the long term this will effect growth and risk developing a cardiomyopathy or possible heart failure.
Proton therapy is as effective as conventional radiotherapy at contolling tumour but has the advantage of the possibility of delivering it solely to the tumour. Unfortunately this treatment is not available in the U.K.
The NHS is funding the proton therapy for the child to travel to U.S.A however the fund is limited to treatment, travel and accommodation for the child and parents. Due to the treatment taking 10 weeks and the family being away from home for almost 3 months this will obviously incur other cost and expence for the family which is not covered by the NHS.
Treating Children with Cancer was able to support the family with the additional expense.