I've been following this case the past few days. The mother disappeared with her son in the hope of preventing him receiving radiotherapy treatment recommended by his doctors. They had already removed his tumour, and the additional radiotherapy is proven to increase survival rates in affected children to an 80% success rate. The mother believes in complimentary therapies, as many people do, and stated in earlier interviews she had researched the condition on the Internet and was worried about the possible side effects affecting her son in the long term.
Personally I would want my child to be alive with unwanted side effects, rather than run the risk of delaying radiotherapy until the cancer definitely returns and maybe being too late for treatment to be effective.
I would make sure I had the best medical opinions available (super important: second opinion) and then probably use complementary therapies to manage any side effects that did show up. Cancer treatment is tough, no doubt. But dying from cancer without the recommended treatment is certainly no walk in the park.
Falmouth of the Mighty BlueGrass State and Commonwealth of Kentucky
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Re: What would you do?
Here lately I've come to hate pert near everything there is to hate about the "medical profession" and hospitals in general (with a freakin' passion), oh, and the ubiquitous 24/7, life consuming, soul sucking, constant ass covering that goes on like it's an Olympic event...oh oh, and that *$#%'n Jello.
And with that in mind, and that one of my nephews was just diagnosed with a probably not too very much operable brain tumor, its my opinion, that mother might just need a little switch whippin'.
I absolutely agree with you Ally. I would much rather have the radiation eradicate the cancer and then deal with the side effects. ( I read that this lady took her Son to Mexico and is having him treated there. Not sure if this is true or not?? Or just blowing off the press?? The statement was made by the Father)
I would want the best for my son, just as this Mom appears to want. But - if the brain is affected by the radiotherapy he may end up alive but with other major concerns. Your brain controls everything in your body. It's a tough call.
My husband had squamous cell carcinoma on the left side of his tongue. It was a large lesion and they had to remove half his tongue and reconstruct it with an anastomosis with tissue from the front part of his thigh (including veins and arteries). When the time came for radiotherapy he went for it even though they only found two lymph nodes that were positive. In retrospect he wishes he had not done the radiotherapy for six weeks. It is not because it made him weaker (that passes) but the tissues became very stiff and wooden. Now he has a hard time eating and has lost a lot of weight - and he is a chef! So I don't know what the answer is here for this young guy. He is too young to decide for himself (legally). Hope it all works out for him no matter what decision is taken.
I'm sure the mother acted with her son's interests at heart. It is hard to know the right thing to do. I don't think her actions make her a bad mom; I just think I would weigh the statistics and end up going with the treatment IF it provided the best chance of a good outcome.
I think the biggest thing is to always get a second opinion. Always, always, always. We have been fortunate having a lot of medical people in the family, because there is no way for the average person to know everything you really need to know.
If she felt the treatment sounded too aggressive (a lot of doctors do treat way too aggressively) she should go to another specialist. Probably in a hospital known for treating cancers.
I would personally treat, with the different opinions in mind, and manage side effects as they appear.
They can't force her to bring her son in for radiation treatments, but dang, she sure comes across as uninformed and rather ignorant, kind of like parents who opt not to vaccinate their kids. (I am unapologetically pro-vaccine unless the individual has allergies to the base of the vaccine. Then it's a different story.) My understanding is that while radiation kills off tissue around the location of the tumor to help prevent more cell reproduction and the cancer spreading, it's far less toxic and hard on a body than chemotherapy.
If I were her, I'd get a second (or third) opinion and opt for the radiation if it's recommended again.