Teen wins right to refuse chemo

A teenager in the U.S. who has Hodgkins' Disease, has won a court battle which aimed to order the boy to undergo a second course of intensive chemotherapy.

The young man, Starchild Abraham Cherrix, age 16, was diagnosed with the cancer a year ago.

The first round of chemotherapy so debilitated him that he refused to accept the more intensive chemotherapy recommended by his doctors when the cancer returned.

The standard treatment for Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system, is usually more than 80% successful, it is one of the most curable forms of cancer.

Abraham then began alternative herbal therapy his parents had learnt about, the 'Hoxsey method', in a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, which involves a sugar-free organic diet and a stew of liquorice and red clover made by his father which he takes four times a day while his parents pray.

The court case came about because a social worker, concerned about his health asked a juvenile court to intervene and the family was taken to court by the state of Virginia and found to be neglectful.

The boy was ordered to report for the treatment he had refused but following an appeal by his parents, the order was suspended and a new trial took place.

The new trial has reached an agreement between Abraham's lawyers and social services whereby Abraham must be treated by a qualified oncologist of his choice, who is registered for radiotherapy, and has an interest in alternative medicine.

Abraham will continue with the alternative herbal treatment as well as his doctor's treatment plan, which will not include chemotherapy, but might include immunotherapy or radiation treatment in small doses.

Abraham's family are required to send the court quarterly updates on Abraham's state of health and treatments, which must continue until he is either cured or reaches 18, whichever comes first.

The decree states that the parents were not medically neglectful.

Abraham now need not undergo the chemotherapy treatment he so fears but he will still receive care from an expert.

Hodgkin's Disease is also known as Hodgkin's, Hodgkin's Lymphoma or Lymphoma and is a cancer of lymph tissue which resides in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and bone marrow.

The first sign is usually an enlarged lymph node which appears, the cause of which is not known.

The cancer can spread to other lymph nodes nearby, and eventually spread to the lungs, bone marrow or liver.

It is not know what causes Hodgkin's Lymphoma which most commonly affects people aged 15-35 and 50-70.

The symptoms are fever and chills, general itching, loss of appetite, night sweats, swollen glands, in particular the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin which are painless, tiredness and weight loss.

The Hoxsey method has been as banned in the United States since 1960 and according to the American Cancer Society, there is no scientific evidence that Hoxsey is effective in treating cancer in people. The illegal herbal treatment can only be obtained through clinics in Mexico.

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