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Brave schoolboy Benjamin Carter started a specialist cancer treatment in the United States on Monday that is not yet available in the UK.
The 11-year-old, of Walkern Road, Benington, suffers from rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), which affects the muscle tissue in his larynx.
He flew out to Jacksonville, Florida, on Monday, February 15 to undergo a cycle of proton therapy, which will irradiate diseased tissue.
Speaking to the Mercury this week, his mum, Joanna, said: “The first two weeks here were in the planning stages, but now Ben will start receiving his treatment.
“We tried to make it feel more like a holiday to start with, because now he has started the treatment, he will go downhill. He will get to the stage where he cannot feed himself or swallow.
“It’s really hard for Ben and for us to see him that way.”
Ben attends Sherrardswood School in Welwyn and was admitted to Lister Hospital, Stevenage, in September, when doctors thought he had a polyp – an abnormal growth of tissue – on his vocal cord.
He went in for surgery, but it was soon discovered he had a mass of tissue on his larynx, so he was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where he started chemotherapy treatment in November.
Mrs Carter said: “Ben’s still petrified of the treatment because I can’t go in the room with him because of the radiation. It’s a totally new experience, but I’m hoping it will become easier.
“I’ve sorted him out an iPod with lots of songs on it for him to pass the time and distract him.”
Ben is receiving treatment at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute every day from Monday to Friday in 28 sessions.