The boy with 11 Tumors

silversword(9A)February 6, 2009

"In 2006, 5-year-old Connah Broom developed an aggressive form of neuroblastoma. His body contained 11 tumors and, in 2007, doctors told his parents there was nothing more they could do.

But ConnahÂs family refused to give up hope, so they began giving him alternative treatments, consisting of an organic diet and a daily sauna, electromagnetic energy therapy and laser therapy.

Now 7-years-old, ConnahÂs family says 10 of the 11 tumors are shrinking according to the latest scans.

Neuroblastoma is cancer of the nervous system. When diagnosed, Connah had stage 4 cancer  the deadliest form. The tumors started in his neck and traveled throughout his body all the way down to his left leg.

ConnahÂs family, who lives in Gronant in North Wales, decided against using experimental drugs because they could damage his organs.

Although doctors are skeptical about the alternative therapies, ConnahÂs family said they will keep doing it until it stops working.

"If what weÂre doing stops working, then weÂll look for another treatment," said Debbie Groom, ConnahÂs grandmother. "WeÂll never give up doing everything in the world to help our little boy.""

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,489085,00.html?sPage=fnc/health/alternative

Here is a link that might be useful: The boy with 11 Tumors

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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

This is an anecdote.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 2:14PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

This is a sad story, reflecting desperate parents, "healers" who have exploited them and credulous, sensationalistic reporting.

All of the elements of bad reporting are there, including the "doctors sent him home to die" falsehood (the parents chose not to use an experimental drug therapy). There seems to be no recognition in the Daily Mail article that the child's previous chemotherapy could have temporarily halted his disease (this is typical of "miracle" stories in which credit for remissions and cures is given to alternative therapies, while conveniently neglecting to mention that the patient also had surgery and/or chemotherapy and radiation as well).

The reports of tumors "shrinking" come from the parents, rather than medical professionals. It's odd also that the child was taken to Poland for scans (by whom? what previous scans were reviewed to look for changes in tumor size?) not called for by his caregivers in the U.K.

The end result of "journalism" like this is that parents spend an enormous amount of money on unproven therapies and frank quackery, the child is put through unpleasant treatments like that sweatbox-looking thing pictured in the Mail story, and the disease winds up returning. While I hope that Connah is one of the fortunate who winds up with a cure, it is likely that if his neuroblastoma comes back, the alternative therapists will shake their heads and say "he should have been brought to us sooner", "he was damaged by the chemotherapy" - any excuse to cover their uselessness.

Sad story.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 2:35PM
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silversword(9A)

The parents were given a choice, try the experimental medications which would damage his heart and kidneys and give him a 50/50 chance of survival, or take him home and enjoy his remaining time.

But there was a third option, one that they had to cobble together themselves.

Hmmmm... experimental drugs with a 50/50 chance of survival, or experimental holistic therapies that the chance is unknown.

His doctor is amazed, acknowledges that he does not know why it is working, says it may be due to chemo or it may be due to what they are doing. He also acknowledges that the cancer may return with a vengence at any time.

This is not an example of an anecdote. This boy truly is ill, and they are pursuing an alternative approach to his illness.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:08PM
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gringojay

I am sorry for that family & recognize there are variables in each case. My comments are not critical of them.
My "ex-" had ovarian cancer & used arduous natural methods to cure herself.
A few years later her other ovary developed cancer & she immediately elected surgery. She stated if knew what went through 1st time around would have done surgery rather than natural healing.
A close family member died as a young adult of colon cancer. He went several places in Europe to pursue natural cures. Whatever the survivability chances were from standard medical treatment is moot. That overseas searching meant the immediate family did not get the opportunity to comfort him as died, nor did it allow them closure once the demise accelerated.
All this by way of saying there are all kinds of "side" effects when considering natural therapy for life threatening conditions.
As for miracle cures: medical literature acknowledges that spontaneous remission with disappearance of all symptomatic indicators occurs with advanced cancer & admits the reason is not understood.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 8:51PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

silversword: "The parents were given a choice, try the experimental medications which would damage his heart and kidneys and give him a 50/50 chance of survival"

Your linked Fox News story says that the experimental drug "could" cause organ damage, not that it inevitably would. The family chose to pass over a 50/50 chance for treatments that have no associated probabilities because they have not been demonstrated to work against this disease.

We still can't tell from the linked stories whether there is any objective improvement (again, when where these scans done (shortly after chemotherapy, much later?), who performed and analyzed them (the parents, the reiki performer, trained oncology professionals) and so on.

The sad part is not just that this child is being subjected to all these expensive and futile remedies, but that other parents in similar situation will find false hope in these breathless news accounts and steer their own kids away from possibly lifesaving therapy.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 2:59PM
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simplemary

I have a nephew with neuroblastoma. Unfortunately, it is often not found until the later stages, particularly in kids. My sister went through hell for four years, seeking tx up and down the east coast for her son's repeated seizures, being told he had everything from encephalitis to epilepsy to HER having munchhausers by proxy--& we won't begin to mention the insurance nightmares-- before the cancer was properly diagnosed. I am talking MAJOR well known hospitals dropping the ball on this cancer. The amazing thing is that through medical ineptitude his now 7 year old body has virtually healed itself. He is still going through chemo with hope to stop the seizures, and he will have long-term issues from the disease to deal with-- but he is tumor free. In addition, the protracted fight with their insurance company has paved the way for another child in a similar situation to be approved for treatment, and the hospital now providing the treatment has set a new protocol for care.So far, this is a success story built of many failures...

There are times when alternative therapies are the best choices and times when they aren't. The same can be said for conventional medicine. The only person who can weigh the risk of any treatment is the person who has to take the cure-- for small children, this becomes the parent's responsibility. While you can pass judgment whether you believe a particular therapy was the right course or not, it's not your call-- And that's a really difficult lesson about respect to learn & practice. Once you figure it out, though, the support you lend by respecting others' decisions is a comforting source of strength to the family when they need it the most.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:08PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

The story you're relating suggests two things: that an evidently difficult diagnosis was made after frustrating delays, and that chemotherapy has eliminated the tumor, at least for now.

I don't see where herbs or any alternative therapy had a role in successfully treating this child.

"The only person who can weigh the risk of any treatment is the person who has to take the cure-- for small children, this becomes the parent's responsibility."

The parents do have major responsibility to weigh treatment options and choose the best possible one(s) for a child who cannot make that choice him/herself. The problem with the initial example given in this thread is that parents opted out of an experimental, but possibly curative treatment plan in favor in modalities with no scientific backing for treating his disease - and a credulous news report suggested the alternative treatment was having a positive effect without thoroughly investigating the case, thus risking the likelihood that other parents in a similar situation will be encouraged to place their children's lives in jeopardy unnecessarily.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 11:36PM
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simplemary

You assume a great deal, eric oh, unfortunately incorrectly. Scans revealed no tumors prior to chemo. Chemo was given to destroy the cancer antigens in the hope of preventing reoccurance. This type of cancer has possible links to viral triggers.

The parent's choices, eric oh, are THEIR choices. Whether they chose alternative treatments or conventional medicine is weighted in far more than you can assume without being them.

Also, as a note to why the parents probably went to Poland for scanning, understand that in the USA, there is ONE facility east of the Rockies capable of making the diagnosis for neuroblastoma that rules out closely related mimics. Perhaps there simply wasn't a facility in the UK that could do the same. Of course, that's an assumption.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 2:37PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

So the symptoms showed up but the cause could not be found, and then they found the cancer, first they tried the wrong chemo then tumors showed up then they tried the right one and the tumors went away?

You need to find some bigger problem than difficulty diagnosing a difficult to diagnose disease to file charges in the court of informed public opinion against the only system that has been shown to have a modicum of efficacy in diagnosis of disease.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 3:04PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

"You assume a great deal, eric oh, unfortunately incorrectly. Scans revealed no tumors prior to chemo. Chemo was given to destroy the cancer antigens in the hope of preventing reoccurance. "

Chemotherapy is targeted to destroy cancer cells, in some cases specifically against antigens on those cells (with the expectation that antigen-bearing cells will be destroyed with less or no damage to benign cells).
Without having a reliable medical history containing a timeline, details of diagnostic interventions and treatments given available to us, it's impossible to say just what has happened in this case (similar to the case presented in the OP). If the child is truly tumor-free, it's hard to understand why chemotherapy would be given to halt seizures, rather than typical anti-seizure therapy.

It is still hard to understand the level of hostility against the medical practitioners who diagnosed and have so far successfully treated a disease for which there was no hope only decades ago, regardless of whether the patient is given sole credit for "healing himself".

"The parent's choices, eric oh, are THEIR choices. Whether they chose alternative treatments or conventional medicine is weighted in far more than you can assume without being them."

What would you say about the case of a young child with a highly curable form of leukemia, whose parents decided to forego the proven effective treatment in favor of reiki and sweatbox therapy? Is that child's ability to choose life compromised?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:43PM
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silversword(9A)

"...the only system that has been shown to have a modicum of efficacy in diagnosis of disease."

And that system would be...?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 7:44PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

I think he's referring to evidence-based medicine.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:28PM
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silversword(9A)

Which is...?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:37PM
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simplemary

I would say "good luck". That's the respect. You don't have to like or agree with the choice. You can be angry, sad or disillusioned by the choice. You can "know" it's the "wrong" choice. But it's not your choice. It's still and only THEIR choice.

Like I said, it's an extremely difficult thing to understand, much less accept.

Regarding my nephew's case: No tumors by the time the cancer was correctly diagnosed. Prior to cancer diagnosis, there was no other diagnosis of any type of cancer. It's four year history to go through, but suffice to say it finally came down to one sharp-eyed doctor who listened and could string the care history together enough to suggest the correct diagnosis.

I have no beef with conventional medicine-- it is the best choice in many instances. In my family's case, there is more frustration than hostility regarding the conventional medical approach to his illness. Believe me, when they finally got a right diagnosis-- even though it was shattering-- we celebrated. Finally, this mystery was solved!

Most of that frustration stemmed from the rarity of the disease and a few egos that slowed down or outright blocked access to better care. Of course there have been great, life-saving strides made in all areas of healthcare, but would be facile and unfair to suggest that the conventional medical community is THE only path to a balance lifestyle, (ergo good health), so therefore immune from incompetence and infalliblity.

For many of us who have lived and worked with herbs (for me, most of my life), there is actually very little conflict between the modalities of conventional and wholistic therapies. You make the best choices that you can. And you allow others to do the same.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:27PM
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