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Advantages of proton beam therapy in Ashya King’s type of cancer are small, doctors say

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5610 (Published 11 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5610
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Ashya King, the five year old boy taken by his parents from Southampton General Hospital for proton beam therapy in Prague, is unlikely to benefit significantly and runs a risk of his treatment failing because it was delayed, doctors commenting on the treatment have implied.

At a Science Media Centre press conference in London, experts in proton beam therapy summarised the evidence for treating medulloblastoma, the type of cancer that Ashya has. They did not discuss the specifics of his case owing to patient confidentiality, but they made clear that the advantages of using a beam of protons rather than conventional x rays were small in this type of cancer, which has a good chance of cure if treated with normal radiotherapy in line with well defined protocols.

The United Kingdom does not yet have proton beam facilities, but they are being built at University College Hospital …

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