Sarah Parisian, a little 8-year-old girl, finished her last radiation session in a Chicago hospital and she and her mother traveled home to Minnesota.
After she returned home she was ‘free of cancer,’ but the oncologist demanded that she undergo chemotherapy and radiation. Her parents did not want Sarah to undergo this treatment, so the oncologist turned her parents in to Child Protective Services (CPS) for questioning her recommendations.
After speaking to several attorneys, they had no choice but to undergo the therapy.
During chemo, Sarah became violently ill and began having seizures, swallowing problems and other complications. After losing her hair and getting over the chemotherapy sickness, they thought they were done. Not so.
The check-up at the oncologist’s office was bad news. No, the cancer hadn’t returned. Instead, the oncologist demanded 12 months (seven sessions) of maintenance chemotherapy with several powerful agents. When her mother expressed concern about more of this therapy and questioned it, Child Protective Services was summoned and a mother’s horror of seeing her sick child and her older sister taken away to foster homes while Sarah was forced to do more chemotherapy became a reality.
“Has the cancer come back? What is the need for continued chemo when we’ve already done several months of chemo and radiation on our child who was ‘cancer free’ according to the MRI and cerebral spinal fluid tap?”
The cancer had not come back, but the answers were equally startling.
The oncologist was following protocol, a protocol that anticipated the seriousness of medulloblastoma and its likelihood of return while ignoring alternative therapies the family currently pursued.
Standard Medical Care
“Should we fight or should we just give in?” These thoughts and other like them raced through their minds.
Sarah and her parents went to trial on July 30, 2012 to fight for parental rights against a system that believes parents are negligent if they want to do anything other than “standard medical care.” It was a short trial and a compromise. Sarah’s parents had to agree to a third doctor’s evaluation and recommendation—it seemed fair.
Let’s have an independent, integrative medical doctor evaluate Sarah and the parents will agree to follow his recommendations. The doctor was chosen by the parents and appeared to understand their plight. But what a doctor may want to do and what law allows seem to be two very different ideas.
The judge entered the courtroom. CPS stood by waiting for comments suggesting negligence. The prosecuting attorney recited into court records that Sarah’s parents are agreeing to whatever care the integrative doctor suggests, and that chemo will begin next week.
What? What would an “independent doctor” recommend?
The pressure to follow standards of care outweighs the desire to do what another person perceives is right.
Before one follows standard medical care for cancer treatment there are a number of issues to observe and think about. Here are three major points to consider:
1. “A 5 year study of survival rates in adult malignancies found the following results: The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA. Conclusion: . . . . It is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required (Morgan, G. et al. (2004). Clinical Oncology 16, 549e560 _ 2004 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd).
2. In 1990, the highly respected German epidemiologist, Dr. Ulrich Abel from the Tumor Clinic of the University of Heidelberg, conducted the most comprehensive investigation of every major clinical study on chemotherapy drugs ever done. Abel contacted 350 medical centers and asked them to send him anything they had ever published on chemotherapy. He also reviewed and analyzed thousands of scientific articles published in the most prestigious medical journals.
It took Abel several years to collect and evaluate the data. Abel’s epidemiological study, which was published on August 10, 1991 in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, should have alerted every doctor and cancer patient about the risks of one of the most common treatments used for cancer and other diseases. In his paper, Abel came to the conclusion that the overall success rate of chemotherapy was “appalling.”
According to this report, there was no scientific evidence available in any existing study to show that chemotherapy can, “extend in any appreciable way the lives of patients suffering from the most common organic cancers.” Abel pointed out that chemotherapy rarely improves the quality of life. He describes chemotherapy as “a scientific wasteland” and states that even though there is no scientific evidence that chemotherapy works, neither doctor nor patient is willing to give up on it.
The mainstream media has never reported on this hugely important study. A recent search turned up exactly zero reviews of Abel’s work in American journals, even though it was published in 1990.
3. The latest published figures from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute state that approximately 30 percent of all cancer patients survive five years, which is considered a cure. This means that about 70 percent die. This is essentially unchanged from 1971 when the War on Cancer started under President Nixon, and is in spite of all of the so called “improvements” in chemotherapy, radiation and surgical techniques.
Alternative Health Care
There are alternative approaches to cancer treatment available. Many address prevention and the elimination of cancer, not just the remission or a prescription for cancer. These approaches are not deemed standard medical care and are not part of the cancer system.
Sarah and her parents sought the care of alternative health care provider Dr. Kevin Conners,UpperRoomWellness, who provided integrated cancers therapies and nutritional protocols to help her initial recovery, prior to the courts intervening. She still receives help with him and these natural approaches.
Because of the enormity of this experience, Dr. Conners, along with a dedicated team, have founded HopeForSarah, an organization with the goal to raise over one million dollars per year to directly support people who wish to use alternative methods for dealing with critical health issues by offering grants and other support.
Here is the rub and the escalating problem this country’s citizens are facing: “Over the past two decades the pharmaceutical industry has moved very far from its original height purpose of discovering and producing useful new drugs. Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, as industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the FDA, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself.” ~ Marcia Angell, MD; former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.
Sarah starts chemotherapy once again on Monday, August 13, 2012.
Should parents have the right to choose what type of health care they wish for themselves and their family?
Dr Peter Lind practices metabolic and neurologic chiropractic in his wellness clinic in Salem, Oregon. USA. He is the author of three books on health, one novel and hundreds of wellness articles. His clinical specialty is in physical, nutritional, and emotional stress. He has a rich source of stress and health info for you at www.stresshedge.com.
Editor: Sara McKeown