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110896=6083-Fight For Life and Love.jpg The fight for life and love: little known therapy cures Bendigo woman's cancer LAUREN MITCHELL 11 Feb, 2012 08:28 AM ELIZABETH Mitchell and her daughter Jenny Chow share a bond quite unlike any other. When you’ve faced the darkest of days with another and emerged triumphant, it’s got to make a relationship stronger. When Elizabeth refused to undergo chemotherapy for the cancer that was diagnosed to end her life, she started a chain of events that would ultimately save her. Today, three years after what Elizabeth describes as her "use by date", she’s preparing to start a new life with her daughter in Adelaide - cancer free. In October 2008, the then 76-year-old Elizabeth was diagnosed with colon cancer. After part of her bowel was removed, it was discovered the cancer had already metastasized, and subsequently spread to her lungs, liver, adrenal gland and peritoneum. She was given six to 12 months to live without treatment. At best another year with chemotherapy. "I know what chemo does to people and if that’s all I have left, why do I want to make myself sick?" was Elizabeth’s response. Jenny came to Bendigo from Adelaide to nurse her mother, but she had other plans than to watch her mum die. "Receiving the oncologist’s prognosis was such a shock, but I remember saying, ‘we’ll see about that!" she said. Jenny began a marathon task of sifting the internet for information on alternative cancer treatments. "I devoured the information – I probably took on more than I should have," she said. "I was spending up to 16 hours a day on the internet, plus looking after mum." Among the "reams and reams" of information, two treatments stood out; radio wave therapy offered at a Perth clinic, and Photodynamic Therapy, or PDT - a little-known therapy that uses a combination of a drug and laser light to kill cancer-effected cells. After much agonising and family discussions, to Jenny’s relief, Elizabeth finally chose the latter. It held the most promise and would take the least time, and time was not on her side. "PDT uses an organic substance, which acts as a sensitizer. This is infused into the body with a drip," Jenny said. "The nature of the molecules in the sensitizer mean that it is taken up preferentially by the cancer cells. "The sensitizer is activated by using a particular frequency of non-thermal laser applied from outside the body through the skin. This causes a reaction in the cells with the sensitizer that causes them to shut down. As a cell dies and takes itself apart, it releases certain antigens that act like an immunization." Jenny found two Australian researchers working with the treatment, and a doctor willing to administer it. Because Elizabeth’s cancer was deemed terminal, she was given an exemption under the Therapeutic Goods Administration special access scheme, as PDT is not available in the hospital system. "We were put in touch with four people who’d had the PDT – two had had it for cancer – and they were just so impressed with the results," Jenny said. Elizabeth paid the $10,000 treatment fee then travelled to Adelaide where the therapy was administered over five days – one day for the sensitizer, followed by four days of four-hour laser sessions. Elizabeth said apart from the sensitizer drip and mild flu symptoms on the first night, the treatment was non-invasive and relaxing. Subsequent scans showed all the tumors progressively disappearing, bar two in the liver. Jenny said they were initially told the PDT wouldn’t kill the cancerous cells in the liver, as that organ was dense with blood and the red laser light would not be absorbed. "Even without the scans, it was fascinating seeing Mum’s physical response to the treatment," she said. "In the first couple of days she was very fatigued (I had read about fatigue caused by cancer cell death). Within a week however, her complexion started to improve, her energy levels picked up markedly and even her hair started to look better." Jenny and Elizabeth then went back to the oncologist with the new scans. "The oncologist said, ‘I’ve just spent 30 minutes trying to sort out these scans. Obviously a lot’s transpired since we last met’," Jenny said. "But when we started to tell her about the PDT she didn’t want to know." "I guess this could affect vested interests," Elizabeth said. "If this takes off, the drug companies will lose millions in chemotherapy." Jenny also asked the oncologist; "Now all the other lesions are resolved, can my mum have liver surgery? She looked at me and said, ‘Your mother is 76 and has metastatic cancer, no surgeon in Australia would touch her’." Jenny felt like she’d hit a major brick wall. "We’d come so far, but if we couldn’t find a liver surgeon Mum would still die." At that point, a chance 10 minute viewing of "Last Chance Surgery" unbelievably led to finding the surgeon they needed. Ten and a half hours of surgery later, the cancerous part of Elizabeth’s liver was removed and her bowel and abdomen checked for further tumors. "The surgeon actually suspected further tumors in the bowel, but when he resected, it was clear - only some calcifications," Jenny said. It took some months before Elizabeth fully recovered, but she did, and today she is full of life – not to mention praise for the support of her family. "I have to have a scan every year for five years. The last one in December (two years after the liver surgery) was all clear," she said. Now Elizabeth can think about the future. Her Golden Square California Bungalow sold at auction last weekend, and she’s set to move to Adelaide to live with Jenny. Jenny described the fight for her mum’s life as an unexpectedly beautiful time together. "When mum was diagnosed I knew I had to nurse her and I was happy to do that but I was scared because I didn’t know if I had the compassion and the tenacity to deal with it," Jenny said. "But it’s actually been a precious experience – it’s drawn us both together, and actually, we’ve had a lot of fun." The pair is sharing their story to make others aware of PTD. "Hopefully it will encourage somebody to do some more research," Jenny said. "The treatment mum had in the form she had it in isn’t really available here now, which is sad. "But there is a clinic in the UK doing similar treatment in a methodical, more controlled way. "The website for that clinic is killingcancer.co.uk." Article Source: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/general/the-fight-for-life-and-love-little-known-therapy-cures-bendigo-womans-cancer/2450221.aspx?storypage=0

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I know for a fact that the details of this news article are 100% correct because the two women mentioned (both our spiritual sisters) just happen to be my mother and my sister. I posted the article because I’m so impressed with the results Mum’s seen from PDT (Photo Dynamic Therapy) and I’m sure many of our brothers have never heard of this therapy.

As Jenny says, unfortunately, "the treatment Mum had in the form she had it in isn’t really available [in Australia] now”. However, just the other day, I received a link to the website of a medical centre in China which is using a very similar – possibly superior – form of this therapy.

http://www.nextgenerationpdt.com/

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This story is local to the poor child who had a hospital visit a judge last week to get an order for transfusion. (and up the road from where I live)

Not that this treatment is working in all cases. :(

Are you saying the "poor child" had this treatment and it didn't work for him/her?

Great story Linda! Thanks for posting it!

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Not that this treatment is working in all cases. :(

Jan, my heart goes out to the little boy and his family!

You’re right about the fact that this treatment doesn’t get the same results for everyone (but then, isn’t that true of all treatments?) It’s also a fact that the form of PDT that Mum had three years ago hasn’t been available in Australia for over two years, partly because the researchers split up. One of them is no longer in Australia. So the child you mentioned couldn’t have had the same treatment (unless he had it three years ago).

However, as I said, I found the website I referred to extremely interesting. http://www.nextgenerationpdt.com/

If anyone would like to know more details of Mum’s condition, they can read some of the information from her CT and PET scan reports in the attached file. By the way, in a few weeks she’ll be 80. She’s living an active and independent life, driving herself all over Adelaide!

Results of CT and PET.doc

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Very interesting. Here's the UK link: http://www.killingcancer.co.uk/home.asp?pdt=Skin cancers

This seems to be a good other option without too many side effects.Chemotherapy is good, but the side effects of it's toxins are to be reckoned with. If this therapy can work on many - granted not all - then it could save the patient going on to lose 20% heart muscle to chemotherapy damage. At least if the treatment does not work, then it hasn't harmed chances of going back onto the everyday chemo/radiotherapy and surgery as a second option and has at least given the sufferer a few more months of better quality life than other more drastic treatments do.

Let's hope more consultants can be trained with it, so they can more readily to offer it as another choice, to the right people.

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There are two doctors who have developed a very promising treatment. Doctors Stanislaw and Burzinski, (not sure I spell correctly) method targets the specific gene causing the cancer and shuts if off. Anyone who is dealing with cancer would be well served by checking them out.

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I long for the day when Cancer and other illnesses will be gone forever. I have lost several family members to it and sometimes worry about it myself. My family and work history puts me in a higher risk group. One day we will be glad to not have to worry about such things. Until then, I am glad to see any success stories and applaud the doctors and researchers who do what they can.

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I feel for all who have Cancer or have been diagnosed. Today i found out that i have the Braca 1 Cancer gene.

It was a bit of a shock as i really didnt think i had it. My dad is the carrier and he didnt think he had it and wouldnt

get the test done. But as i had the test it proved he did have it not my mum. My dads mum and a few sisters have

died from breast Cancer, but it also is an ovarian Cancer gene. All i can say is roll on new system.

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