Vitamin C Cancer Patient - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Vitamin C Cancer Patient

How much vitamin C does a healthy person need? Doctors trying to answer that question may have discovered a treatment that fights cancer. Ten O'clock News Reporter Terry Anzur found a local doctor who's encouraged by the results.

Dr. Rosenberg/Oncologists: "How are you feeling today Sharon?"

Sharon Kauffman doesn't think of herself as a medical pioneer. The 47 year-old respiratory therapist from Pennsylvania is just trying to survive with stage four lung cancer, what some consider terminal.

Sharon Kauffman/Lung Cancer Patient: "I'm smart enough to know the prognosis is terrible for this disease."

Lung cancer claimed the lives of anchorman Peter Jennings and Dana Reeve, the non-smoking widow of Superman Actor Christopher Reeve. Last year, when Sharon lost her oldest son to bone cancer, she learned of a promising alternative treatment and began visiting Doctor Mark Rosenberg in Delray Beach to supplement her chemotherapy with intravenous vitamin C.

Dr. Rosenberg/Oncologists: "Two weeks after we started the tumor marker went down to a little over a thousand. A week later it went down to 856 and then a week later it went down to 659."

"It's really good. Especially when I see that the doctors are so surprised."

"This therapy is based on findings published by the National Academy of Sciences, showing that high concentrations of vitamin C boost production of hydrogen peroxide, killing cancer cells in the laboratory--but there have been no scientific studies of actual patients and local oncologists we checked with say it's too early to comment on its effectiveness.

Dr. Rosenberg/Oncologist: "I am excited but it has to be tempered by cautious enthusiasm."

Sharon pays about $700 of her own money each week for the treatments because her insurance doesn't cover it and she wonders why more research isn't being done.

Sharon Kauffman/Lung Cancer Patient: "My feeling is the government. Somebody ought to be financing this because obviously the drug companies aren't because it's not profitable for them, because they can't patent vitamins and make a lot of money off of it."

Doctor Rosenberg says Sharon has a good chance of beating the odds for a stage four cancer patient.

Dr. Rosenberg/Oncologist: "It appears right now that she's going to exceed that median lifespan of eight months. Can I tell you unequivocally that she will? No I can't. I can tell you unequivocally that she is having a response, she feels well and we're all happy about that."

Sharon Kauffman/Lung Cancer Patient: "You don't get a choice. You just have to deal with it and you do. But no, I don't think I'm brave. I'm afraid."

But she dares to hope for the best.

Sharon Kauffman/Lung Cancer Patient: "Many more years to spend seeing my kids grow up. Seeing grandchildren grow up."

Even the doctors who have been astonished by Sharon's progress say we're a long way from using vitamin C to fight lung cancer.

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