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Rays of hope for pioneer's cancer fight; boy with rare brain tumour is one of first in uk to get latest treatment.


A YOUNG cancer patient has become one of the first people to undergo proton beam therapy in the UK - right here in Manchester.

Mason Kettley, 15, was diagnosed with a rare tumour at the base of his brain last year.

Due to the location of the tumour, medics had to rule out surgery and radiotherapy over fears they could cause blindness and/or brain tissue damage.

Proton beam therapy was his only option - which, until recently, was only available abroad.

Luckily for Mason, a centre opened in Manchester, saving him a trip across the Atlantic.

The Proton Beam Therapy Unit at The Christie was almost five years in the making and is currently the only one of its kind in the UK.

A BBC Horizon documentary - entitled The 250 Million Pound Cancer Cure - followed Mason's journey through his treatment.

It also told the stories of other boys who underwent life-saving proton beam therapy in the US.

In all, Mason underwent 28 sessions of proton beam therapy over a six-week period.

"I was really scared, you think, 'why am I doing this, it's going to be really painful,' but I might as well just get it done and over with," he added.

At the end of the six weeks, Mason rings the bell to symbolise the end of his treatment, and enjoys an emotional embrace with his family.

"Can I just say to all of you, thank you so much for everything you've done," Mason's mum says as she wipes away the tears.

Medics said there were signs Mason's tumours were shrinking and it was hopeful he would go on to lead a full life.

Morgan from Rochdale was just 12 when he was diagnosed with cancer. He developed a growth on his face and tests revealed he had a rare form of the disease in the soft tissue beneath his skin.

"When I got told that I had cancer, my first thought was, 'is it curable?'," Morgan, now 15, recalled.

At a cost to the NHS of PS100,000, the teenager was one of around 120 children that year to be sent abroad for proton beam therapy while the new centres were being built in the UK.

"When you're undergoing treatment you can't actually feel it," Morgan said. "The side effects were bad burns like someone had thrown a boiling hot kettle over your face, it was very red, but you've got to do what you've got to do."

Morgan has now been cancer-free for three years.


Morgan has been cancerfree for three

Medics hope Mason Kettley will go on to lead a full life, and (inset) during treatment

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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 26, 2019
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