Sayed’s
Story

“The treatment was not painful for my cousin, and he suffered fewer side effects than if he had received other traditional types of cancer treatment. The medical team was professional, friendly and supportive during the treatment” - Sayed's Cousin

Nineteen-year-old Sayed Ali was very sick. He was suffering from severe headaches and beginning to lose his balance. His symptoms were not dissipating, so he decided to visit his local emergency room for help. The doctors at the emergency room conducted an MRI to try to determine the cause of his disabling symptoms.

Unfortunately, the results were not positive, Ali was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma Grade 4, a malignant brain tumor that accounts for approximately 20% of all childhood cancers. The diagnosing physicians said that due to the size of the tumor and Ali’s age, proton therapy would be the best treatment modality for him. However, that type of treatment was unavailable locally in Bahrain.

Thanks to a long-standing partnership with SAH Care, the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Bahrain knew how to access Proton Therapy. The Ministry recommended SAH Care to Ali’s family. Proton therapy was the critical treatment needed to battle his cancer. Ali would receive his treatment through SAH Care at Hampton Proton Therapy Institute in Hampton, Virginia, USA.

Enter Ali’s cousin, Sayed Mohammed, who knew immediately that he would be there to support his cousin through the process.

Time was of the essence. SAH Care and Mohammed started communicating immediately. Within 72 hours SAH Care helped with visas and arranged all travel and boarding logistics for both Mohammed and Ali so that they could travel to the United States.

Sayed with his cousin at Hampton, Virginia

When the cousins arrived in the US, lodging near the center and a car had been arranged for them. Mohammed and Ali would be secure and comfortable while Ali received proton therapy treatments. SAH Care recommended things for the cousins to do and places to go on the weekends, like touring Washington D.C. It was important for Ali and his cousin to continue to live life as normally as possible while going through the treatment. Proton therapy allows patients to do this because the treatments minimize side effects.

Mohammed said, “The treatment was not painful for my cousin, and he suffered fewer side effects than if he had received other traditional types of cancer treatment. The medical team was professional, friendly and supportive during the treatment”.

“The experience that my cousin had during treatment at Hampton Proton Therapy Institute was superb.” Sayed’s gratitude was articulated in the most meaningful, simple terms. “Thank you SAH Care,” he said.

After a few weeks Ali had completed his treatment and he rang the ceremonial brass bell at the proton center that all patients ring when they have successfully completed proton therapy. Ali rang the bell proudly with his cousin, the doctors and nurses who helped him through his course of proton therapy by his side.

Ali’s prognosis is very good. Part of the reason for that is that he was treated with proton therapy that spared the anterior structures of the vertebral column from treatment. This means he has a lower chance for certain future health issues like hypothyroidism, cardiac vessel toxicity, and bowel adhesions that have been reported with x-ray therapy due to the irradiation of the heart, lungs, chest, thyroid, thymus and bowel. The use of Proton Therapy minimizes side effects for medulloblastoma cases as mentioned in the following study from MD Anderson (“Proton beam craniospinal irradiation reduces acute toxicity for adults with medulloblastoma” IJROBP, 2013 Jun 1;86(2):277-84) SAH Care physicians continue to conduct follow-up visits with Ali during their trips to the region. Both Ali and his cousin are doing well.