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BLOG: May 2009

Daniel's true 5-year chances
with the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel's case - True chances - Late effects - Mortality -
Real picture - Hodgkin's kids - Alternatives

Is "90% success chance" promised to Daniel Hauser by the conventional medicine close enough to 100% success to justify forcing him into a highly toxic treatment? Is "90% success rate" fair presentation of Daniel's true 5-year chances, and his longer-term prospects?

Let's first define what 100% success rate should mean in treating any disease: simply put, it should mean that the disease is eliminated

without inflicting significant lasting damage to the mind or body.

Can the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's claim this?

Looking at the results of North American clinical trials for so called combined-modality treatment (usually four chemo drugs and radiation combined) of pediatric Hodgkin's, the 5-year survival rates range from below 80% to nearly 100%. In general, the average reported rate is close to 100% for the least advanced (favorable stage I and II Hodgkin's lymphoma), declining below 80% for most advanced (unfavorable stage III and IV) forms of disease.

Number of children in most of these trials is relatively small, up to a few dozens, which makes the result statistically unreliable. However, a pattern emerging from a number of such small studies can be assumed to be a good indicator of the overall survival rates.

In Daniel's case, having stage IIB Hodgkin's - considered unfavorable, but less so than the most advanced unfavorable stages - his chances to survive 5 years after undergoing conventional treatment - at least statistically - are somewhere between 85% and 90%.

It should be noted, though, that deaths due to "unrelated causes" may not be included in the survival rate figure. Knowing that this type of treatment ignores the actual (individual) cause of the disease, and does not track specific effects of the treatment on body chemistry, the accuracy of assigning the "unrelated" attribute is inevitably suspect.

But just being alive after 5 years is a pretty vague description. How does your child feel? What is its quality of life? What are the prospects of being alive and having good life 10 or 20 years after treatment?

According to the reported numbers, Daniel's chances to be symptom-free (so called "event-free" rate) in 5-year period are somewhere between 2 in 3 and 9 in 10. The "symptom-free", as defined in Hodgkin's treatment terminology, is limited to the specific set of symptoms caused by Hodgkin's disease; it does not expand to other symptoms and diseases, even those directly caused by the treatment (in other words, rates for "being and feeling well" are not reported).

So, another statistical figure, for him being free from symptoms of Hodgkin's after 5 years is somewhat lower, probably around 75%. There is no data to determine at least statistical probability for Daniel of being truly disease-free after 5 years; perhaps, it could be 2 in 3 at best.

These numbers are only approximate, but serve their purpose. The picture that emerges is already less promising than what "90% success rate" implies. One is certain: conventional Hodgkin's treatment

can not claim near 100% success rate,

the first of four conditions set in the beginning, even within the first 5 years following the treatment, except for the most favorable cases - to which Daniel doesn't belong. As will be detailed ahead, his prospects

become more bleak going beyond these first five years.

The next question is whether delaying conventional Hodgkin's treatment, in order to attempt an alternative, non-invasive therapy, either alone or combined with the conventional treatment, can significantly worsen child's short- and long-term chances of survival and wellbeing?

This question is easier to answer, at least in general. Between the two extremes, one being a near-inert Hodgkin's that doesn't significantly advance for years, and the other its aggressive form that can flare up within a few months, Hodgkin's lymphoma is most often a slowly spreading malignancy. In the majority of cases, a magnitude of decline in the chances for survival, or for severity of immediate and long-term effects, resulting from delay in starting the conventional therapy

would be justified in the light of possibility to significantly reduce - or even avoid - risks and toxicity of the treatment.

The specifics could be and should be determined, in terms of permissible decline in statistical chances for survival and "freedom-from-symptoms" with the conventional treatment, in case that it becomes the lest resort.

Considering that the conventional Hodgkin's treatment itself imposes significant health risks - more about it ahead - giving a chance to some form of non-invasive therapy, or at least, to some form of so called integrated therapy, combining conventional invasive with selected non-invasive treatments in order to reduce the overall toxicity, could literally be a lifesaver.

Of course, this would require from the conventional medicine not only to admit that the alternative non-invasive treatments can have beneficial effect in treating Hodgkin's, but also to open up door for their regular use. And that is exactly what American Medical Association

does not want to happen - ever.

Not because there is a solid factual basis to dismiss alternative treatment as a hoax - to the contrary - but because mainly inexpensive, natural therapies are against everything that this organization has become: a drug/radiation/surgery merchant for the mighty pharmaceutical industry.

It abused its official powers to sideline and marginalize non-invasive, alternative treatments for cancer, so that it can keep its lion's share of the market. But using law enforcement to force their highly toxic treatments on children under the pretext of "child protection" is going a step too far. An instance of self-destructive greed for money, power and control, that will backfire and ultimately help alternative medicine.

By not having near 100% success rate in general - and in the case of Daniel Hauser in particular - for the first 5-10 years after treatment, nor being critically affected by moderate delays in most cases, the conventional Hodgkin's treatment has already

failed to fulfill requirement for justifiable legal enforcement

when parents opt to give a try to an alternative, non-invasive therapy with their child.

But there are two other very important questions to answer: (1) does the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's inflict longer-term damage to the patients, and (2) are there viable non-invasive alternatives for treatment of Hodgkin's disease?

So, the next question is how invasive is the therapy; does it harm your child physically and psychologically, and do the longer-term prospects (beyond 5-year period) justify that sacrifice? The answer to these questions is of crucial importance, for two reasons. One is that the facts about it are very much obscured and withheld not only from the public in general, but also from the very patient. The other is that, as will be documented, the most serious, deadliest consequences of the highly toxic conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

surface in one to three decades after it was completed.

Let's start by naming and specifying these late effects of treatment toxicity.