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Treatments | Alternative/Homeopathy

What are the questions?

  • Decision - The decision for a parent whether or not to pursue alternative/homeopathy treatments rather than traditional chemotherapy or transplants is one of the most difficult ones presented to the parents. The question can arise at the beginning of treatment, in the middle of chemotherapy treatment if the child does not achieve remission, or upon relapse after being in remission from a traditional chemotherapy or transplant treatment protocol.
  • Traditional or Alternative/Homeopathy - The advancements in treatment of pediatric leukemia are in quantum leaps versus steps. Articles show that acute lymphatic leukemia ("ALL") remission rates are on the increase to a percentage often cited as 70% to 80% versus acute myeloid leukemia ("AML") that is cited at 20% to 30%. Over fifteen years ago, ALL was often a fatal disease. Today, a majority of children will enter into remission. However, news articles and the popularity of alternative/homeopathy treatments in the United States and other countries are also increasing in frequency.

What was the experience of the Strouds?

  • No Choice - The search for a suitable treatment for Jennifer Stroud had to include alternative treatments. Her first chemotherapy treatment against AML resulted in a remission only after the second phase. She then relapsed within six months. She achieved a second remission by an allogenic bone marrow transplant. However, she then relapsed a second time within six months after the BMT.
  • Treatment Programs - The alternative/homeopathy treatment programs reviewed by the Strouds spanned four continents. An example of the treatments presented to us include:
     
    Clinical Nutritional Therapy Radioactive Monoclonal Antibodies
    Vitamin/Mineral Injection Therapy Nutritional Evaluation
    Biological Response Modifiers (BBRMs) Laetrile 
    Programmed Cell Death Therapy Polymer Treatment
    Cladribine Treatment (2 CDA) Hoxsey Tonic
    Japanese Herbal Soup and SMANCS Therapy Vitae Elixir 
     

Is a data base available?

The result of our effort is an Evaluation Criteria set forth below and a Data Base maintained by the Jennifer Lynn Stroud Foundation that is available to all serious inquiries addressed to Children With Leukemia on the Correspondence page.

Anyone that has information on Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments is URGED to send the information to Children With Leukemia to be added to the data base. The data base is available as an "international information highway" for Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments to help parents, physicians and/or treatment teams make this decision.

What evaluation criteria is available?

  • Medical File - Each parent should request a copy of their child's medical file after the initial diagnosis and after each phase of the treatment. We found it essential to have a current medical file. Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments will often use this medical file. A consent form should be requested from the hospital or medical professionals and be executed by the child's parents or guardian.
  • Helpful Hints - We found the following questions and helpful hints essential in determining the validity of Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments, and whether or not the application would be helpful to Jennifer.
    • Pediatric Application - Has this treatment been used for pediatric care? A number of the Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments contain injection therapy, oral pills and supplements that often a child sick with leukemia cannot or will not take. We also found more than half of the Alternative/Homeopathy Treatment programs were set up for adult patients and had no experience with pediatric patients.

     

    • Ingredients - What are the specific ingredients of the medicine? Since a number of the programs include injections, I.V. treatments, pills and supplements, we found asking for the specific pharmaceutical description important. I personally felt suspicious of a clinic that was not willing to divulge this information after we would sign any confidentiality agreement.

     

    • Protocol - What is the treatment protocol? The physical condition of the child and the pain of additional treatment versus the benefit need to be weighed seriously by the parents and the treatment team. The parent needs to determine if this treatment has been used for the child's specific type of leukemia. We found Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments often are effective for solid tumors versus leukemia.

     

    • References - Will references of patients be furnished? We requested references of patients that had used this treatment in the past year. We would then contact and personally talk to the patients, if appropriate, and their parents. A number of clinics will indicate that this is contrary to patients' rights. However, upon further inquiry, we were referred to individuals that had consented to the use of their name and would openly discuss the treatment program. I also asked for the names of parents where the treatments were not successful. I did not want to only hear "success stories."

What are the legal concerns?

Parents should be aware that Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments are often frowned upon in the United States. These treatments are outside the traditional chemotherapy/transplant procedures. Cases exist where parents start a traditional chemotherapy program and then try to remove their child from these programs. The parents can be subject to legal action by state child protective agencies asserting the state's rights over the parent's rights. We found that open and candid discussion with the physician in charge of your child is the best route. A confrontational relationship is no benefit to the child and adds undue stress to the parents and family.

What are the financial concerns?

The majority of Alternative/Homeopathy Treatment clinics require cash payments or direct financial guarantees from the parents of the child. Insurance policies issued by United States companies generally do not cover Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments. However, managed care contracts covered by insurance policies are beginning to recognize Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments and provide limited coverage.

Parents are urged to consult with their insurance company's representative to discuss the coverage of Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments. We found our insurance company to be most informative. The insurance companies also use managed care as a means to reduce the medical costs and usually are willing to discuss openly and honestly Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments. The parents should be prepared, however, to receive little or no financial assistance for Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments.

A word of caution. Important Note: Parents should determine that if a child receives Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments outside of current insurance coverage, will that preclude future insurance coverage of traditional chemotherapy or transplant procedures. Several of the insurance policies contain clauses that deny coverage after use of an Alternative/Homeopathy Treatment. Since most insurance companies assign a major claim representative to supervise coverage, the parents should ask this important question before pursuing Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments.

How can I make a difference?

We ask any person to send information or references regarding Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments to the Jennifer Lynn Stroud Foundation at the address, fax or E-Mail set forth on the Correspondence page. We urgently ask for any parents' experience in dealing with Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments. The data base is meant to be a no charge "international information highway." We ask that the information be of a quality and nature that it benefits families seeking to review Alternative/Homeopathy Treatments.


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User's Guide What to Expect
Parents
Your Child
Brothers & Sisters
Friends
Treatments
Chemotherapy
Bone Marrow Transplant
Nutritional
Alternative/ Homeopathy
Communication
History
Mission Statement
Reference
Correspondence
Sponsors