Brave superhero Jude from Milton Keynes is fighting cancer for a second time

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A young brain tumour patient, who became a superhero when hospital staff created an Iron Man radiotherapy mask for him, is fighting cancer for a second time.

Ten-year-old Jude Upton, from Milton Keynes, was diagnosed with a grade 4 medulloblastoma, following a trip to Specsavers in Silbury Arcade on his eighth birthday in March 2020.

He had been suffering from a loss of balance, sickness, constant headaches, loss of appetite and changes in his personality including becoming more introverted and not wanting to play football.

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The youngster underwent a craniotomy followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy and enjoyed months of stable scans before finding out earlier this year that, sadly, his cancer had returned.

Brave little Jude Upton is fighting cancer for a second timeBrave little Jude Upton is fighting cancer for a second time
Brave little Jude Upton is fighting cancer for a second time

Jude’s mum Katie Jefcut, who is working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to share his story as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month gets under way, said: “I’d already taken him to the doctors, and to A&E, where we waited seven hours to be told they couldn’t find anything wrong, but I knew there was because all his symptoms had come on suddenly over a couple of weeks.

“Thankfully the optician found Jude’s optic nerve was swollen and referred him to the eye clinic at Milton Keynes University Hospital, where they found a tumour the size of a plum in the back of his head.

"I was completely baffled and couldn’t take in what they were saying.”

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Further tests at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford revealed the cancer had already started to spread to other areas of his body, with two masses in his brain and another on his spine.

Jude underwent a nine-hour craniotomy followed by three months of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

“He was so scared that he had to be sedated every day for six weeks, but staff helped by making him an Iron Man radiotherapy mask, which was really kind because he’s a huge Marvel fan and loves his superheroes. He had 45 minutes of radiation on his head and spine each time and hated every minute of it.”

Jude had a further six cycles of chemo, after which his tumour remained stable. But in March this year, further growth was detected. He’s now completed two more chemo cycles and is awaiting his next scan.

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Katie said: “It’s all been a complete nightmare but Jude’s such a strong boy and is getting through it like an absolute warrior. I don’t know where he gets his strength from sometimes.”

Jude has now been accepted on to a MEMMAT trial which uses antiangiogenic therapy to treat children with recurrent medulloblastoma.

Biopsy samples have also been to be sent to a company in Greece where tests on DNA cells of his tumour will hopefully identify what causes them to grow. But treatment is expensive, which has led to a crowdfunding page being set up.

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