A cancer charity has expressed doubts over treatment offered by a US clinic which could be used by the family of a desperately-ill Huddersfield boy.
Ewa Sitkowska’s nine-year-old son Cristiano is suffering from a rare aggressive cancer. She is set to fly out to the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, Texas, next month in a final attempt to try to save her son’s life with “pioneering” treatment.
Doctors in the UK say they have done all they can for him and can now offer only palliative care.
But Ewa, 43, a mother-of-two from Marsh, has refused to give up hope and has been overwhelmed by a campaign to raise £200,000 to send him to the clinic with more than £29,000 raised – much of it by Examiner readers.
However, an increasing number of people have contacted the Examiner to question the effectiveness of the treatment offered by clinic founder Stanislaw Burzynski.
It has been at the centre of controversy for years and was the subject of a BBC Panorama investigation which cast doubt on its claims.
A Cancer Research UK spokeswoman said it did not comment on individual cases but directed us to a 2011 blog on its website by Kat Arney which said: “At the moment, Burzynski’s antineoplaston treatment has to be regarded as experimental and unproven.
“And although we have no wish to extinguish the small flame of hope that these families carry, the current scientific evidence tells us the truth is that the Burzynski Clinic’s treatment is not the miracle cure that the recent slick movie about the clinic would have you believe.”
And one woman, Jane EP, wrote this on the Examiner’s website: “As a mother myself, my heart breaks for this family, and I can completely understand their willingness to try anything.
“But I truly believe the money being raised would be far better spent allowing Cristiano to enjoy what time he has left, and ensuring his family is left with happy memories, not the heartache of false hope.”
But Ewa says she has little choice but to give her son every last chance and is aware of concerns expressed about the clinic.
After the story first appeared in the Examiner, several people got in touch to say the clinic’s experimental ‘antineoplaston therapy’ cancer treatment was unproven and gave false hope to vulnerable people.
And she revealed the heartache of Cristiano telling her last year: “I don’t want to live anymore” after a particularly unpleasant bout of radiotherapy.