Manhunt Medicine: Forced Cancer Treatment
by Bill Sardi by Bill Sardi
This May 13, 2009 file photo shows Colleen, left, and 13-year-old Daniel Hauser at their farm in Sleepy Eye, Minn. Daniel Hauser is stricken with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer. Mother and son have fled from treatment. Billy Best, a Norwell, Massachusetts man who ran away from home at age 16 to avoid chemo and radiation therapy for his lymphoma, supports the Hausers. (AP Photo/ABC News) A court sided with Best in 1994 and he returned home to pursue alternative therapies.
San Dimas, CA (May 25, 2009) — The image of an American child being strapped down and forced to take harsh cancer therapy against the will of his parents or even his own will is not a welcome thought.
All agencies of U.S. law enforcement are on a manhunt, not for suspected terrorists or even convicts escaped from prison, but rather a mother and her 13-year-old cancer-stricken son.
In a certain clash of cultures, doctors fear the boy will die if he doesn’t receive further treatment. Most patients undergo a combination of chemotherapy and low-dose radiation treatment, which has a reported 90%-plus 5-year survival rate for children of this age. But the rural family lives in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota and embraces traditional folk medicine.
It’s not like local authorities are out with search warrants. The entire armamentarium of US law enforcement agencies is out after this kid including the US Attorney’s Office, the FBI and US Marshals.
The manhunt has spread to California. Daniel Hauser, the cancer-stricken teen, was flown to California with his mother and law enforcement officers believe she is trying to cross into Mexico to obtain alternative cancer treatment and to hide him from the law.
Daniel Hauser has Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While modern cancer treatment generally offers no cures and harsh treatments, chemotherapy with low-dose radiation is effective for children. While chemotherapy contributes to the 5-year survival of adults only about 2—3% of the time, children are an exception to the rule. Chemotherapy in childhood lymphoma is associated with prolonged survival.
However, even with such a high reported success rate, and though long-term survival data is generally good with maintenance chemotherapy, more advanced cases don’t fare so well and recurrence rates are high, which is maybe why Colleen Hauser may have refused treatment and fled from care after she viewed some x-ray films that were shown to her and radiation treatment was recommended. She was due to appear in court as she flew to California with her son and then vanished.
Replay of 1994 saga
A Boston television station aired a report about Billy Best, a Norwell, Massachusetts man who in 1994 ran away from his parents at age 16 and only returned home when his parents consented to his own choice of alternative therapies. Talking about freedom to choose treatment, Best says "I thought we were past all that."
Apparently Best was in communication with the Hauser’s and news reporters errantly claimed he was with Colleen and Daniel Hauser. Best says he would still resist treatment. A court ruled in his favor in 1994.
Is radiation treatment effective?
Ironically, the Hauser case comes just when radiation oncologists are questioning reports on the effectiveness of radiation treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A review of 61 trial reports that were published between 1998 and 2007, published in the February 1, 2009 issue of the Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, shows major deficiencies in reports which substantiate this type of treatment. The question is, can cancer doctors assure with certainty that the treatment is science-based, something the new administration in Washington DC is pushing.
Drawbacks of conventional cancer treatment
Conventional cancer treatment consists of harsh drugs and radiation to kill cancer cells in the lymph fluid. But this treatment never addresses the cause of the cancer, which is probably why recurrence rates are high. Childhood Hodgkin’s lymphoma is associated with Epstein-Barr infection, a type of Herpes virus.
Modern cancer therapy ignores any attempt to boost the immune system. Crude studies conducted in the 1930s led to abandonment of therapies to boost the activity of white blood cells. Today, immunotherapy is coming back into vogue and many of the molecules being considered are natural rather than man-made.
Vitamin D, resveratrol commonly found in red wine, quercetin found in red apple peel, omega-3 fatty acids in fish and flaxseed oil, and allicin from garlic are among many natural molecules being tested for use in cancer therapy.
One lab-dish study showed that intravenous vitamin C has a profound effect in quelling non-solid tumors like lymphoma. Resveratrol has been shown to inhibit cancer at all three stages of development — initiation, growth and spread — something no modern cancer drug does.
Mischaracterization of cancer patients who refuse care
Cancer patients, and in this case parents of a child with cancer, should not be grossly characterized as mindless or irresponsible. Modern cancer therapy is fraught with serious drawbacks and lack of scientific substantiation. Patients hear horror stories of other people’s ordeal with cancer.
A report published in 2008 said "most patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) can be cured with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or combined modality treatment. However, current treatment is associated with severe side effects and late toxicities such as infertility, cardiovascular damage and secondary malignancies. Moreover, a fraction of patients suffers from treatment resistant disease and cannot be cured with current approaches including high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant." [Hematology Meeting Reports 2008; 2(5):154—158] This report calls for re-examination of immunotherapy for lymphoma.
Numerous studies demonstrate that the status of the immune system dictates survival for cancer patients. A recently reported study showed that surgery or radiation treatment alone will inhibit T-cells in lymph fluid, which are a key regulator of tumor growth and dictate survival. The combination of chemotherapy plus radiation elevated T-cell counts, but so did experimental immunotherapy. [Anticancer Research 2009 May; 29(5):1847—52]