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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 June 2006, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Home remortgaged for cancer girl
A Somerset couple have remortgaged their home to pay for a cancer treatment which they hope will save their 11-year-old daughter's life.

Tracey and Nick Trezise, from Peasedown St John, hope to fly Nikita to America for the Issels treatment, which is unapproved for patient use in the UK.

Nikita was first diagnosed with cancer in 1999, after she developed a large tumour on the top of her head.

It was removed but the cancer has returned to her one remaining lung.

After seeing the scans at the Bristol Children's Hospital Tracey Trezise said: "She cried when I told her the cancer had come back and said: 'Mummy I'm going to die.'"

During the original surgery, two-thirds of one lung and a rib were removed and Nikita underwent 12 weeks of chemotherapy at Bristol Children's Hospital.

'Bit of hope'

Then in 2005 she was again diagnosed with cancer and the lining of the lung was removed followed by another five weeks of chemotherapy.

Now the cancer has returned to her lung and surgeons are unwilling to operate on the tumour until it shrinks as they fear it could spread to the rest of her body.

"I came across this treatment in San Diego and I was impressed with the read up and I just thought there seems a little bit of hope and I've got to try," said Mrs Trezise.

'Unproven methods'

The treatment was developed by Dr Josef Issels in the 1950s, and focuses on strengthening the body's immune system in the hope that the body will fight off the cancer.

The Issels Foundation has claimed it has helped thousands of terminal cancer patients prolong their life and some even reported being free from the disease years later.

However, the total cost of treatment in the US will be about 45,000. The family has already raised 30,000 - but need to bring in the remainder through charity fundraising.

Cancer Research UK's patient information website CancerHelp UK warns against using unproven methods of treatment: "There is little if any scientific evidence to back up the claims made by those promoting these therapies.

"If you have cancer, using these unproven methods instead of conventional medical treatment can have very serious consequence for your health. You should talk to your specialist about any alternative or complimentary therapies that you want to try."


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