Mother in plea for specialist brain cancer treatment
Published 23/09/2011 | 05:00
The mother of a schoolboy who beat cancer after undergoing revolutionary surgery in America has called on the British government to honour its pledge to bring the procedure to Britain.
Alex Barnes was just five when he flew to a hospital in Florida in 2008 to have the life-saving proton therapy on an aggressive brain tumour.
Now seven, Alex has made a miraculous recovery and has suffered no long-term effects of his illness, despite his family being told at the time that his chances of survival were slim.
His mother Rosalie said she was urging the government to honour its promise to bring the treatment to two centres in the UK. The 47-year-old fashion designer said: "Alex is fine, he's 100pc healthy. They told me at the time if he was going to have the treatment in this country that I would probably lose him."
Ms Barnes was warned that even if Alex did survive he would likely end up in a wheelchair and would be brain damaged, as well as deaf and blind.
The therapy works by inserting markers into the skull so lasers can be lined up, before proton beams pass through a series of magnets and emerge in one powerful beam that can target the tumour and hit nothing else.
Ms Barnes said it was much more effective than radiotherapy, which hits everything and can cause neurological damage. It can also be used on children aged under five when radiotherapy cannot.