A 15-year-old from Angmering, whose rare brain tumour was deemed inoperable due to the risk of ‘catastrophic complications’, is set to receive ‘life changing’ specialist treatment.
Mason Kettley, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in October, will be one of the first patients to undergo Proton Beam Therapy on the NHS at a brand new NHS centre in Manchester.
This specialist form of radiotherapy targets cancers very precisely, increasing success rates and reducing side effects, making it an ideal treatment for certain cancers in children, who are at risk of lasting damage to organs that are still growing.
Mason, who is currently still attending school and is in the middle of preparing for his GCSEs next year, said: “I’m nervous about what is going to happen, but I’m also excited to start this treatment.”
Following investigations and scans at Worthing Hospital near his home in Angmering in West Sussex, it became clear the tumour – a pilomyxoid astrocytoma – was growing in critical areas of his brain, making it inoperable due to the risk of blindness and other catastrophic complications.
Consultant clinical oncologist Gillian Whitfield, who is leading Mason’s care, said: “Mason’s tumour is a low grade (slow growing) tumour with a high chance of cure.
“For Mason, in comparison to conventional radiotherapy, Proton beam therapy should carry a lower risk of some important long term side effects of treatment, particularly effects on short term memory and learning ability and the risk over the next eight decades of the radiation causing other tumours.”
Mason said his experiences as a patient have made him decide he would like to train as a doctor.
He said: “I’m so grateful to all the doctors involved in my care and I’d love to do what they do one day – it will be my way of giving something back.”
Proton Beam Therapy is only available in a handful of countries around the world.
The therapy had been offered overseas to NHS patients who are eligible for treatment in England since 2008 – but now, patients like Mason can be treated in the UK.
The £125million Christie hospital in Manchester, where Mason will be treated, was opened last year and is the first NHS treatment centre in England.
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for the NHS in England said: “This is a hugely exciting development for the NHS and we are delighted that we are able to provide this life changing treatment for patients like Mason.”