Photodynamic therapy helps Connah Broom's cancer fight
- 1 December 2011
- From the section North East Wales
A schoolboy diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer in 2006 is defying medical experts.
Connah Broom, of Gronant, Flintshire. who has just turned 10, had 11 tumours, and chemotherapy had little effect.
But now, after embarking on an alternative form of treatment costing his family over £200,000, only one tumour remains.
Connah's GP describes his condition as remarkable while his grandmother says he is doing well.
Debbie Broom explained that after chemotherapy and other traditional treatments were ruled out, the family started to look for other treatment to cure the cancer, neuroblastoma, which affects around 80 children in Britain each year.
Then in 2007 they heard about a private clinic in Mexico offering a treatment called photodynamic therapy (PDT).
Football and gymnastics
PDT uses laser or other light sources, combined with a light-sensitive drug (sometimes called a photosensitising agent), to destroy cancer cells. In the UK it is used to treat some cancers such as skin cancer.
Connah underwent an intensive two-week course of therapy in Mexico as it was not available to him in the UK, according to Mrs Broom.
He continues the treatment at the family home where he lives with grandparents, and his father Chris.
Now, after four years of treatment, Mrs Broom says the 10 secondary tumours have gone.
"We're fighting and Connah's fighting," she said. "And he is doing smashing."
Connah still has the primary tumour on his abdomen and four nights a week, Mrs Broom spends two hours taking him through the treatment.
A way from the therapy, he goes to school full time in Prestatyn, and plays his keyboard, sings, dances, and enjoys football and gymnastics.
Mrs Broom is convinced PDT, combined with an organic diet, is the reason Connah is doing well.
However, Connah's GP, Dr Eamonn Jessup from Prestatyn Central Surgery, is unsure whether the treatment has had an effect on Connah's tumours or whether his body has been able to fight the cancer.
"His condition at the moment is remarkable," he said. "It is really unexplained in that all most as all of the tumours seem to have switched themselves off.
"Whether it is the health regime they are following for Connah, whether it is the treatments they are following, I don't know," he said.
"It is right that as scientists, which is what doctors are, we have to be sceptical about new treatments.
"However, something has definitely changed Connah's outlook."
Mrs Broom said the family would continue with the treatment until the last tumour had gone.