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Ashya King's parents 'afraid' to return to Britain

The parents of five-year-old brain cancer survivor Ashya King have said they want to return to the UK, but are afraid their son will be taken from them if they do.

Ashya after being reunited with his parents Brett and Naghmeh in September 2014 Credit: Family handout

Brett and Naghmeh King, who sparked an international manhunt after taking their son out of hospital without doctors' consent, told The Sun that they have tried - and failed - to get official assurances that UK authorities will not take action against them.

The family are in their holiday home in Spain with Ashya, who has been given the all-clear after receiving proton beam therapy in Prague which was initially not available to him on the NHS.

We feel exiled. We want to return to the UK but as things stand we are here for the long term.

We want someone to tell us nothing will be held against us. But they won't.

So why would we move back thinking that at any moment someone could knock on our door with the police and take our children? The thought of them taking Ashya away from us rips our hearts in two.

– Brett King

Mr King, 51, also told the paper he had been questioned by police when he had returned to England in November, while the paper reported Portsmouth City Council's head of children and social care Stephen Kitchman had emailed the family to say he could not give a "definitive answer" on what would happen should they return.

But according to the paper, Michael Lawther, the council's solicitor, said no legal action was in progress and "therefore it is not a council matter whether the King family returns".

Most children with Ashya's cancer 'cured on the NHS'

Professor Karol Sikora, a doctor specialising in cancer treatments, said he was delighted that Ashya King's MRI scan appeared to reveal he was cancer free, but said he did not think the proton therapy he recieved has to blame for his improvement, as the vast majority of children who have his rare type of cancer recover.

  1. Meridian

Hospital still sees 'no benefit' to overseas treatment for Ashya King

The Southampton hospital at which Ashya King was diagnosed with cancer has disputed claims that alternative treatment improved Ashya King's chances of survival.

It said it still believes there would be 'no benefit' to his parents taking the five-year-old abroad for proton therapy.

Ashya's parents have today said he is clear of cancer and that the treatment has saved his life.

Ashya King's parents say he is now cancer free.

However, a spokesperson for the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said the treatment would not have improved his chances of survival.

"The Trust considered there would be no benefit to Ashya of proton radiotherapy over standard radiotherapy and that view was supported by a national independent expert body."

– University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

They say that with the recommended treatment - a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy - his survival chances would have been between 70-80%. They describe this as 'very good'.

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Ashya King's treatment centre 'thrilled' at his recovery

The little boy's medical centre is thrilled he is now cancer free, they said Credit: Reuters

Ashya King's treatment centre has expressed its delight that the five-year-old is now cancer-free.

Jana Kulhankova, marketing director at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, said she had not seen the latest scan but has been in regular contract with Ashya's doctor, Hernan Cortes-Funes, since his treatment ended.

She said: "Ashya's doctor told me last week that Ashya is doing so well that he is able to release him for rehabilitation.

"If the scans are showing that Ashya is cancer-free, as Mr King says, than we are thrilled, that is what we have worked for.

The centre's strategy director also voiced how pleased the centre is but added that she did not know why his British doctors had denied him proton therapy to start with.

Iva Tatounova said: I don't know why he was turned down in the first place as proton therapy should be the first choice of treatment for children with medulloblastoma.

Iva Tatounova, strategy director, said she was also thrilled Ashya is recovering Credit: ITV News

"I don't know of its politics or simply not knowing about proton therapy."

However she also said she was "glad" the NHS had realised that proton therapy was a gentler and less aggressive form of treatment and that they paid Ashya's medical costs.

King family: We have saved Ashya's life

Ashya King's father said his son's recovery from brain cancer justifies the family's actions in taking him from Southampton General Hospital without medical consent last August.

Ashya with his mother Naghmeh King in October after undergoing proton therapy. Credit: Family handout

He told The Sun: "We have saved his life", adding that they would do the same thing again if they felt they had to.

Ashya King's mother Naghmeh has described news of the boy's condition as incredible.

"If we had left Ashya with the NHS in Britain, he would not be with us today. He was too weak and would not have survived," she told the paper.

Ashya was finally allowed to undergo treatment at the Proton Therapy Centre (PTC) in Prague for brain cancer after a long legal battle fought by his parents.

Five year-old Ashya King 'declared cancer free'

Ashya King, the five-year-old boy who was the subject of an international manhunt when his parents took him out of the UK for cancer treatment, has been declared free of the disease, according to reports.

The five-year-old has completed proton therapy treatment in Prague. Credit: PA Wire

Brett and Naghmeh King told The Sun newspaper that their son's life was saved because he was given treatment not available for him on the NHS.

The Kings were arrested in Spain last year and held in prison after taking Ashya out of a hospital in Southampton against medical advice.

The five-year-old was eventually taken to Prague where he received treatment at the Proton Therapy Centre (PTC).

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