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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.


Thursday 7th November @ 11am


Hilton Brighton Metropole
Kings Rd, Brighton
Kings Road
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:

Filip´s Chordoma Cancer Story

On January 5th, 2018 I was diagnosed with chordoma of the second cervical vertebrae. A partial laminectomy was performed at the Department of Neurology in the Military Hospital in Belgrade. Following the initial resection, I was advised to find a hospital which could treat my tumour using proton beam therapy. Upon completion of proton therapy, a surgery to stabilize the vertebrae would be performed.

Before my diagnosis was confirmed, I was admitted to the hospital where doctors suspected I suffered a stroke. I remember not being able to control my extremities and I had spasms in my fists and legs. However, my brain was not affected, and I was fully alert. When the doctors were examining the MRI scan to check if I had a stroke, they noticed the growth on my C2 vertebra.

While I was happy I did not suffer a stroke and that the symptoms were not caused by multiple sclerosis, since my family has a history of it, I was scared to learn I had cancer.
Before my surgery, I felt optimistic, but that soon faded to fear and despair again as the tumour could not be fully removed. Following the surgery, as advised by my doctors, I started to research proton therapy. I knew my only hope would be to find a centre and start treatment as soon as possible. I found the Proton Therapy Center in Prague via a website called Proton Therapy Today and in March 2018, I contacted a treatment coordinator who requested all my medical documentation and MRI images to determine if they could potentially treat me. It only took the PTC a couple of days to inform me that I was a suitable candidate for treatment at their facility and they provided me with information regarding the suggested number of fractions and the total cost of the treatment. My next step was to apply for funding through the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, which can be a tricky and lengthy process if you have no idea how to begin or whom to ask for help.

Once I had all of the information about the proposed treatment at the PTC and knew the requirements for the funding application, I went to my doctors who were on board and ready to sign all the necessary papers to be sent to the Ministry of Health. Unfortunately, due to the lengthy process of applying for funding, I was unable to start my treatment until January 23rd, 2019.

Finally, I travelled to Prague for my initial consultation where I was informed about the potential side effects, which were really scary to hear and prepared me for the worst. However, eventually, I was lucky enough not to experience any of the major side effects. Actually, the only side effects I had were a sore throat and minor nose bleeds, but I was scheduled to see an ENT doctor weekly to help manage these side effects. Also, I saw a skin specialist who provided me with a cream to prevent any skin irritation.

Initially, the diagnosis turned my life upside down. I am a young guy and after the partial laminectomy, I was forced to wear a neck collar and the doctor’s prognosis was bleak. The more I researched chordoma, the more I became afraid of what the future would hold for my life. Cancer is a scary word that you hear on TV and maybe from acquaintances, but I never expected to hear a doctor tell me that I have cancer, especially such a rare specific type of cancer that only affects one in a million patients.

During my stay in Prague, I had the support of a family member who accompanied me. Two to three weeks after finishing my treatment, I was feeling a lot better. Before treatment started, I could barely move my feet and it was necessary for me to have a wheelchair to get around. At the end of treatment, I was able to take a 3.5 km walk through Prague’s Old Town for the first time.

Treatment at the PTC was a pleasant experience. All the employees were extremely helpful and friendly. I was surprised when the cleaning lady would smile and say “dobrý den” to me as we passed each other in the hall. Such positive attitude and general respect may not be something you will see in a Serbian institution. The international treatment coordinators were always checking in on me to make sure I did not need anything. The facility is well organized and I did not experience any delays or complications. I would highly recommend the Proton Therapy Center to future patients.

Graham´s Prostate Cancer Story

On having an annual thyroid function blood test in February 2018 the phlebotomist suggested a PSA test to which I agreed. At the age of 77 it was surprising that I had never heard of PSA tests particularly as I had occasionally mentioned to doctors in the previous 15 years that there had been a gradual increase in the frequency with which I urinated.

A doctor told me that the test result was 7.3 and that we would have to monitor my PSA level. In a subsequent telephone conversation I agreed to have a prostate MRI scan but the hospital sent me an appointment notice for a biopsy and told me scans were only given to men with PSA levels of over 10. I wasn’t happy with this and paid for a multi-parametric MRI scan at a private clinic.

The mpMRI scan report said I had extensive bilateral prostate cancer. Having led a happy and healthy life my first reaction was to do nothing, particularly as my doctor said I could die with prostate cancer and not because of it. However, my wife and family were opposed to this so I started my research in June. Almost immediately I came across worldwide glowing reports for a clinic in central China which uses a mixture of western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine including herbal therapy and acupuncture to treat prostate cancer. Following correspondence by email with the clinic and three of its former patients I decided to go there. However, visa processing delay and the Chinese consultant’s and my own holiday arrangements resulted in my plans being postponed. Meanwhile I came across a book by an American, Bob Marckini, who after very extensive research opted for proton therapy treatment in California. He convinced me that proton therapy was my best option.

I contacted PTUK in early July and was impressed at the amount of detail supplied in the prompt reply. Prior to my treatment planning visit to Prague in December I was required to have a biopsy and then hormone treatment to reduce my PSA, which had risen to 10.1,to under 1.0.

Throughout January 2019 I had 21 radiation sessions of short duration which left me plenty of time for sightseeing, and video astronomy and guitar courses at my comfortable apartment, recommended by PTUK, a short walk from the treatment center. The friendly, helpful and professional manner in which Dr Kubeš, his colleagues and staff advised me about my treatment and carried it out was much appreciated – as was the loan of a guitar by Katerina! Susanna, my treatment coordinator arranged for any medical or administrative problems or queries I had to be dealt with quickly. I was touched by her kindness and good humour. Three days after I returned home I began to experience the side effects which I had been told I might get. They lasted 17 days – within the 14 to 21 days forecast but helpful advice was supplied in a telephone consultation by Dr Sláviková. Subsequently I have felt fine and have been able to get on with my life without the problems I might have experienced if I had done nothing or opted for another form of treatment. I have no hesitation in highly recommending treatment at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague.