THE MUM of a schoolboy denied NHS cancer radiotherapy says he’s been given the all-clear following treatment in Europe after she raised £100,000.
Toni Ilsley’s 12-year-old son Charlie had been diagnosed with the brain tumour medulloblastom when he was eight.
The youngster from Reading, Berkshire, had surgery to remove the tumour in 2015, but it returned on his spine in March last year.
Toni claims doctors at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford told her there was no more they could do to stop the cancer spreading.
After searching online she found a radiotherapy treatment called Cyber Knife, but the NHS said it was “not clinically appropriate” for Charlie’s cancer.
Undeterred, Toni raised more than £100,000 for the same treatment on his spinal tumours in Turkey.
She said after undergoing the treatment in Turkey he is now cured, and is angry at the NHS response.
Toni said: “If I had listened to them Charlie wouldn’t be here now – it doesn’t bear thinking about.
“When Charlie had his first scan in Turkey and the first treatment was working, I remember feeling really happy.
“And then [I felt] angry this couldn’t be done in my own country.”
Toni took her son a hospital in Ankara, Turkey, which charged £30,000 for the treatment.
HOW CYBER KNIFE WORKS
- The CyberKnife is an advanced radiotherapy treatment delivery system that provides a non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of cancerous and non-cancerous tumours anywhere in the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney.
- The treatment, which delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumours with extreme accuracy, offers new hope to patients worldwide.
CyberKnife is a specialised stereotactic robotic radiotherapy system that uses real-time tracking capabilities to deliver high-dose radiation to tumours with pin-point accuracy.
- Typically treatments using the CyberKnife are completed over one to five days and each pain free session lasts from 30 to 120 minutes depending on the area being treated.
- The CyberKnife has X-ray cameras that monitor the position of the tumour and sensors that monitor the patient’s breathing.
- This enables the robot to reposition the radiotherapy beam during treatment in order to minimise damage to healthy tissue.
- CyberKnife moves with the patient’s breathing and can track a moving tumour. Because of its pinpoint accuracy, CyberKnife allows larger fractions (doses) of radiotherapy to be delivered, meaning that the patient requires fewer hospital visits.
- Visits for lung cancer patients could be reduced from 30 to three; for prostate cancer patients visits could potentially be reduced from 37 to five, and visits for palliative radiotherapy could be reduced from ten to one.
Doctors used three rounds of CyberKnife radiotherapy on Charlie’s two tumours, as well as chemotherapy.
Charlie returned back to Britain before flying back for two more rounds of the treatment.
An MRI scan showed his tumours were shrinking, but the youngster still required two cycles of chemo and a stem cell transplant.
After he returned to school part-time, Charlie’s family raised £40,000 for more treatment in Germany.
He flew to Germany last month and was given the all-clear after a check-up at John Radcliffe Hospital back in the UK.
NHS England told the BBC: “Decisions about the right treatment are difficult, which is why they are made by clinical experts.
“The NHS does fund this treatment for lung cancer as well as research into other types of cancer, however it is not always clinically appropriate or a better treatment than others already available on the NHS.”
You can donate to Charlie’s fundraiser here.
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