A NINE-YEAR-OLD Bradford girl is jetting off to the US today to start ten weeks of intensive cancer treatment to hopefully rid her of a brain tumour.

Paris Somma, of Kesteven Road, Holme Wood, has already undergone three bouts of major surgery at St James's University Hospital in Leeds since being diagnosed with a pineal gland tumour in December.

The procedures have failed to completely remove the tumour, so she is now travelling to a clinic in Oklahoma for a course of proton beam therapy, a type of radiotherapy that uses high-energy beams of protons to destroy cancer cells.

Brave Paris, who was diagnosed with cancer after suffering from headaches and vision problems, wrote on her Go Fund Me page yesterday: "I'm nervous but excited, happy knowing I'll soon be well again, but sad to leave my family and my friends behind."

Her guardian, Pauline Mitchell, who is travelling to the US with her, said: "She is anxious, but she knows what she is facing.

"The doctors at St James's have talked her through things, and they have done a trial run with the type of face mask she will have to wear.

"Physically she is fine, it's just the mental side of things."

Unlike conventional radiotherapy, in proton beam therapy the beam of protons stops once it 'hits' the cancerous cells, resulting in less damage to surrounding tissue.

It is often used to treat brain tumours in young children whose brains are still developing, but Cancer Research UK estimates that only one in 100 people with cancer are suitable for the treatment.

Dr Bob Philips, a paediatric consultant oncologist at St James's, said Paris was one of about ten to 12 children a year sent by the hospital to clinics in either Oklahoma, or Jacksonville, Florida.

"Proton radiotherapy results in less long-term side effects, as it treats the tumour but affects less of the surrounding tissue," he said.

"Patients are generally treated on a daily basis, and wear a personalised face mask to ensure the tumour is targeted in the correct position.

"The treatment is not currently available in this country, but the NHS is building two centres, in Manchester and London, scheduled to open in 2018."

NHS England is covering the cost of Paris's treatment, flights, and accommodation, and her family and friends have so far raised more than £3,200 to help fund other expenses, including a laptop to allow her to keep up at school and stay in touch with her two younger sisters.

Any remaining funds will be donated in Paris's name to the CLIC Sargent children's cancer charity.

Referring to the treatment, Mrs Mitchell said: "It's a walk into the unknown.

"It will be very hard and very stressful, but it's just something we have to do.

"There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that's what is pushing us on.

"We just want Paris to be well."

Anyone who wants to help Paris's fundraising should visit gofundme.com/parissomma.