Parents say UK boy cancer-free after family ordeal

2015-03-23 20:11
(Petr David Josek, AP)

(Petr David Josek, AP)

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Madrid - The parents of a boy who sparked a manhunt when they removed him from Britain where he was being treated for cancer claimed on Monday he is now free of the disease after receiving proton beam therapy.

Ashya King, five, was treated for a brain tumour at a medical centre in Prague last year after his parents took him away from a British hospital fearing that the proposed course of radiotherapy would make him worse.

The family's Spanish lawyer Juan Isidro Fernandez Diaz said that King, who has been recovering with his parents in Spain, was doing "very well".

"The tumour has been completely neutralised and it no longer has cancerous cells thanks to proton beam therapy," the lawyer told AFP.

Supporters of proton beam therapy say it is more precise than conventional radiotherapy and targets only malignant cells, although scientific opinion is divided on whether it improves survival rates.

It is not available through Britain's state-run National Health Service.

In an interview with Britain's Sun newspaper, Ashya's parents Brett and Naghemeh King spoke of their joy.

"Now we are so full of hope for the future," Naghemeh King said.

The Prague Proton Therapy Centre told AFP that Ashya was doing well and had been discharged but it was "premature" to take a medical view on his long-term prospects.

"As regards the latest news from this morning, it seems to suggest that Brett King has received magnetic resonance scans showing that Ashya is cancer-free," said Iva Tatounova, the centre's director for strategy.

"We haven't seen the scans but if Mr King has received such news, we are very happy although it's premature to evaluate the news from the medical point of view."

Brett and Naghemeh King were detained on an international arrest warrant last year after British authorities suspected they were not acting in Ashya's best interests.

After they spent four days in a Spanish jail, a British court ruled that they should be reunited them with their son, who was being kept in a Spanish hospital. They then travelled to Prague for the proton treatment.

Brett King told the Sun that the latest news on their son's health "has justified everything we have gone through because things are working out for Ashya".

Read more on:    spain  |  health

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