The Hypocrisy of Mandatory ChemotherapyMay 22nd, 2009
Earlier this week, an arrest warrant was issued for a mother who’s resisting chemotherapy treatment for her 13 year old son Daniel Hauser. After Daniel’s first chemotherapy session for Hodgkin’s lymphoma back in January, he and his mother decided to discontinue the treatment.
Based on a court ordered X-ray showing that Daniel’s tumor had regained it’s initial size since diagnosis, Daniel was ordered to resume chemotherapy treatment. The court also ordered the involvement of child protection services based on a judgment of parental negligence. The arrest warrant for the mother was filed after her and Daniel had fled into hiding and missed their next court appearance.
A Grim Prognosis
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a form of cancer that has a high survival rate when recognized early and treated with chemotherapy. While Daniel’s doctors gave him a 90% chance of survival with chemotherapy treatment, they give him only a 5% chance without it. Despite this bleak prognosis, Daniel and his mother are adamantly opposed to any additional chemotherapy treatments. Daniel made his opinion quite clear by saying that he’d fight, kick and punch to avoid it.
Allowing a 13 year old boy to make such a significant and life altering decision for himself is a highly subjective and controversial matter. In Daniel’s case, the situation is even more complicated based on the allegation that he has a learning disability and can’t read. Based on these factors, the court assumed Daniel to be incapable of understanding the severity of his condition and the necessity of chemotherapy to treat it.
The Dark Side of Chemotherapy
There’s no doubt that Daniel’s situation is a challenging moral dilemma. Not surprisingly, many people have been quick to pass harsh judgment on the mother without considering why chemotherapy might not be desirable. Chemotherapy is a very toxic treatment that destroys healthy cells along with the cancer cells. In fact, it can be fatal and is sometimes the cause of new cancer growth.
A weakened immune system is one of the primary factors that allows cancer cells to reproduce uncontrollably and become problematic. Chemotherapy does nothing to address this and often makes the immune system even weaker. Many people who understand this choose to address the cause of their cancer rather than it’s effects. They do everything in their power, primarily through natural treatment and a much healthier lifestyle, to strengthen their immune system and decrease the load on it. This gives their body the best chance to heal itself and take care of the cancer on it’s own as it should have been able to do in the first place.
Many people who’ve chosen a holistic and natural treatment approach to cancer, sometimes after unsuccessful chemotherapy treatment, have been able to resume a completely normal and healthy life despite being told that they had little to no chance of survival.
Is The Court Smart Enough to Decide For Us?
Chemotherapy is certainly not the only way to treat cancer, and there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that it’s not the best way either. Based on the dangers that are inherent to chemotherapy, I can understand the actions that Daniel and his mother have taken, especially with the possibility that the 5% chance for survival is biased in some way.
Given the dangers associated with chemotherapy and the many variables that could make a statistical prognosis inaccurate, it’s hard to say if this a case of the court truly protecting someone from their own ignorance, or if the court itself is ignorant and is causing this family unnecessary pain and suffering. Regardless of the answer, the stress of this court ruling will likely suppress Daniel’s immune system and make it much more difficult for him to fight his cancer.
The Hypocrisy of Mandatory Chemotherapy
Cancer was a rare disease just a century ago and is now a leading cause of death. During this time span, we’ve dramatically changed the way we live and it’s obviously had a significant effect on our health. Despite this painfully obvious fact, most cancer research is based on advancing the diagnostic equipment and chemotherapy that do nothing to address it’s cause. Little effort is made to understand how the significant changes of the past century correlate to the high incidence of cancer that exists today. Unfortunately, most research is driven by it’s potential for profit and disease prevention just isn’t lucrative enough for many large corporations to take interest in it.
We live in a society where an unprecedented number of people are freely choosing to dig their own grave with unhealthy habits. In fact, they’re encouraged to do so by advertisements from the big corporations that profit from this behavior. We’re encouraged by the media to let our children live a lifestyle that promotes disease, but at the same time, we’re losing the right to protect them from dangerous medical treatments.
Does Big Industry Have a Role in This?
One of the primary reasons that our medical system is focused on chasing symptoms instead of addressing and preventing the root causes of disease is the powerful influence of the drug industry. Chemotherapy can cost as much as $10,000 per month, and with the alarming rate at which people are developing cancer, there’s obviously a tremendous amount of money to be made. Unfortunately, this is why most modern research is focused on patentable medications rather than preventive measures or natural alternatives. It’s also likely to be why cancer is still such a significant problem and why we still don’t have a safer and more effective method of treatment than chemotherapy.
What Do You Think?
Should a parent and child have the right to refuse potentially harmful treatment regardless of the prognosis? Can we rely on a government that can’t control an epidemic of preventable diseases to know what’s best for our family?