Tameside mum backs Manchester-based research into side-effects of cancer treatment on children

Carla Feno's son Luca was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was four. Credit: Family Photo

A mother from Ashton-under-Lyne is backing a Manchester-based research project into the side effects of cancer treatment on children after her son was affected by having radiotherapy.

Carla Feno's little boy Luca was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just four-years-old and was treated with radiotherapy.

Luca now has little evidence of cancer in his body but has been left with side-effects including memory loss and a reduced attention span as a result of his treatment.

Luca has finished his cancer treatment but has been left with side-effects. Credit: Family Photo

A group of scientists at the University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital will now work with a group of transatlantic scientists to try and work out which areas of the brain to avoid when using radiotherapy in children.

The research group, which has been awarded £750,000 by Stand Up To Cancer, is aiming to create a 'map of the brain' and will be led by child cancer specialist Dr Martin McCabe.

He said: "It’s great news for Manchester that we have been awarded this funding.

"It’s an ambitious goal, but we hope this research could lead to safer radiotherapy treatments for childhood brain tumours – treatments that aren’t as tough on young people as the ones we use now, and maybe new treatments that could help more young people to survive this type of cancer in the future."

Carla said: "Luca is living proof of why research into cancer is so important as, thanks to treatment, he is still here today.

"But although his tumour has been successfully targeted with treatment, he has sadly been left with side effects which will need monitoring for many years to come.

"Radiotherapy for children’s cancers is very effective, but what many people don’t realise is how harsh the treatment can be on youngsters, especially when they are blasting an area as sensitive as the brain."

Anna Taylor, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, is encouraging people to continue to donate to cancer charities so that research like this can continue to be funded.