Science Did not Believe Cassandra's Claims

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was a princess would angered Apollo and was cursed by him with the vice of not being able to persuade anyone of anything. As with any modern-day person named after some Greek deity or aristocrat, there is a certain amount of irony in the case of the Connecticut 17 year old named Cassandra, who refused chemotherapy when diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and was subsequently forced to undergo treatment by the state authorities. Specifically, the Department of Children and Families, or DCF, of Connecticut ensured she got the treatment she was refusing to take and she is now in the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford recovering and with her cancer in remission. Cassandra, the teenager from Connecticut of course, was interested in exploring alternative treatments for her cancer, apparently with support from her mother.


As pointed out in a rather lengthy and angry, but very scientific blog, hatepsuedoscience.com, apparently written by two anonymous insiders in the Medical Science industry, Cancer is an enormously complex series of failures in a person's biochemical pathways. And each cancer from person to person, even the same type of cancer, is caused by a unique profile of mutations, and thus a unique set of cellular malfunctions. That means that there is an enormous and complex set of failures at the cellular level that result in cancer and there can never be a single cure for all the types of cancers without a rigorous understanding of the biochemical pathways in each individual patient. Getting the dosage and the medication right depends on that rigorous understanding. And that means that alternative cures, claimed for all types of cancer, can never provide a real solution to cellular malfunction and the cancer that arises from it. But that requires a comprehensive understanding of biochemistry and medicine. That doesn't mean that not smoking and sweating it out in pilates on a regular basis do not help preventing cellular mutations; apparently they do. But complementary and alternative treatments for cancer are not targeted towards the unique profile of mutations in any individual cancer patient, because they haven't a clue how cancer actually works.

To debate this with a 17 year old whose life almost certainly would have ended within a year or two is something that Connecticut's medical community as well as the DCF decided against in favor of action. But Cassandra refused treatment being imposed on her, and the case ended up in the Connecticut Supreme Court. It ruled that the "mature minor doctrine" where teens approaching legal age can decide their medical fate, did not have enough force to allow Cassandra to refuse treatment. She is cancer-free again thanks to science. And thanks to the fact that she will soon be of legal age, if the cancer returns - an event that let us pray never happens - she will be able to legally refuse the very treatment, based on science, that saved her life.

Posted by Keeley at March 10, 2015 8:39 PM
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