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Proton beam therapy

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UK readers will remember a news story which gripped the headlines in 2014: a 5-year-old boy with medulloblastoma was removed from a paediatric oncology unit against medical advice by his parents who then fled to Europe, prompting a police search and their subsequent arrest. They were motivated by their desire for him to have proton beam therapy, unavailable in the UK, which he eventually underwent in the Czech Republic.

In proton radiotherapy, as compared to conventional photon radiotherapy, the heavier subatomic particles are able to deliver their energy more precisely to the tumour, with less ‘scatter’ to surrounding tissues. This should result in fewer radiation-induced …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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