9-year-old Caroline Brown from Northumberland had been feeling unwell for four months before she was diagnosed with a rare inoperable cancer.
It was in March 2017 when Caroline was diagnosed with stage-four rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue cancer. Doctors initially thought it was just an ear infection.
The tumor spread close to her brain that her loved ones were told it was too risky for Caroline to undergo surgery. She was only 7 years old at that time.
Caroline was sent to the U.S. for ten weeks for proton beam therapy, which was not yet available in the United Kingdom. Caroline also received chemotherapy at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
The brave girl has made a full recovery.
The proton beam therapy has been hailed a game-changer, and now the NHS plan to set up centers to help patients.
Caroline’s mom, Lucy, told The Times: “Now Caroline has recovered, occasionally I’ll just look at her and cry.”
She also said that her daughter had an intermittent earache in November 2016, which her doctor said was an ear infection.
However, she had no energy, lost a lot of weight, no interest or motivation to do anything, including playing with friends.
It turned out that Caroline had rhabdomyosarcoma (RMA), a type of sarcoma that develops in the active muscles of the body.
RMS, the most common type of soft tissue sarcoma, occurs in childhood. Around 60 children are diagnosed with the condition in the UK every year, and 400 to 500 new cases occur per year in the US.
Doctors said her tumor couldn’t be operated because the risk was too high. The tumor was very close to her facial nerves.
The proton beam therapy uses a beam of high energy protons to target the tumor and diminish the damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
It is great for patients where the cancer is close to a critical part, such as the brain or spinal cord.
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