Did Beau Biden’s Battle with Brain Cancer Change the Course of History?  

What would the world be like today, if Beau Biden had become a cancer survivor?

His father, Joe Biden, would have run for President of the United States and very likely won the national elections in 2016. The barrage of executive orders, the divisive hatred among so many Americans, and the degradation of the highest office in the world may never have come to be.

The Biden’s never revealed the type of brain cancer that inflicted their son. By its complexity the disease might have been glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer that spreads throughout the brain with finger-like tentacles or the more common type called gliomas. Either way, every brain cancer patient is different and developing a tailored treatment for each individual continues to be the industry’s greatest challenge.

I have heard some amazing survival stories where friends and colleagues skirted death one more time after receiving a miraculous drug, cancer treatment, or inexplicable voodoo. But for all the great stories of cancer survivors, thousands upon thousands either live their remaining months at the painful mercy of chemotherapy or choose to meet their maker on their own terms. Morbid as it may sound, I had to ask myself, how come some cancer patients survive, while others do not? …and how can so many customized treatments fail, like that of Beau Biden, when others have managed to become cancer-free well beyond their predicted life expectancy?

A Google search on cancer survivors led me to a tumor-removing procedure and treatment whose statistics surprised me. The study appeared incomplete because, as stated in the footnotes, the cancer patients in this particular clinical study, never died. Ironically, the lack of life termination data left the study inconclusive. Patients who were expected to survive for less than a year were still very much alive, now 10 to 12 years later and enjoying 100% remission. The conclusions from the abstract read like the cure for a common cold and the treatment used, called brachytherapy, was easy-to-understand. Despite the astonishingly high survivability from this clinical study, however, what surprised me most was actually something else.

Brachytherapy is not new. It has been around since the early 19th century. When doctors remove cancerous tumors they carve them out in much the same way that a gardener would when removing a large weed. However, just as in the case of a gardener, its nearly impossible to pull every root out of a weed as it is to remove every last cancer cell associated with a specific tumor. The hidden remnant cells that are left behind become the primary cause for the resurgence of the disease in cancer stricken patients.

To remove these stray cancer cells before they can cause a recurrence, doctors will subscribe some form of radiation treatments, one of which is called brachytherapy. …and herein lies the difference among treatments that really work to cure a patient and those that simply prolong the agony associated with the disease.

Most hospitals will use external applications such as chemotherapy or laser beams to kill any remnant cancer cells after a tumor has been removed. Although effective, these externally-applied treatments also come with formidable side-effects such as loss of hair and extreme debilitation. In addition to these side-effects, the guarantee of a 100% cure has frequently remained elusive at best. Frankly, neither the doctor nor the patient can ever know for sure if every last traces of cancer cells have been completely annihilated.

An alternative approach to external radiation is brachytherapy. Immediately after a tumor has been surgically removed, doctors implant radioactive seeds right along the wall of the cavity. These technologically advanced seeds are custom prepped with dosages of Cesium 131, a radioactive isotope that similar to a biodegradable stitch, virtually disappears after 9 days of emitting more effective killing energy than chemo or beams can. To maximize their impact, these seeds are assembled in what is trademarked as a GammaTile®. …which is no more than a preassembled, mat-like structure that houses the required number of seeds, each spaced accordingly to emit a steady flow of localized radiation.

You might be wondering, as I did, “…why hasn’t anyone written about GammaTile® cancer-curing treatments, if indeed they are so effective?” The pure and unadulterated answer is the cost of the treatment. No, not because it is too expensive, but just the opposite. It is too affordable! A typical brachytherapy GammaTile® treatment runs about 75 to 90% less than chemotherapy treatments and other similar biological therapies.

Big pharma won’t support brachytherapy because they would sell fewer addictive and expensive drugs to insurance companies. Hospitals won’t support it because the number of visits is reduced significantly, and doctors avoid it because insurance companies won’t pay for it. The fact is that a viable cure for cancer using GammaTiles® and brachytherapy has failed to enter the mainstream of cancer treatments largely due to special interests, ironically, none of which seem to involve the better interests of the inflicted patient and their families.

Not all hope is lost. The Barrows Cancer Center expects to approve an official insurance code for Cesium 131 by July 2017, which would at the very least make it easier for doctors to get paid by insurance companies. …a bold step in the right direction!

…the steep price our society pays.
To appreciate the hidden burden our society bears to keep proven cures for  cancer out of the mainstream, one need only ponder the loss of Beau Biden. Just think, what might have happened had he survived his battle against brain cancer with a simple GammaTile® solution. His survival could very likely have changed the course of history.

The question remains, how many more Beau Bidens must we lose before the cure for most common cancers can be treated and supported as just another common ailment?

© 2017 Tom Kadala