Young Newport News cancer patient denied experimental treatment


by Jonathan Costen, 13News Now

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 11:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 1:25 PM

NEWPORT NEWS -- The fight continues on more than one front for a 14-year-old Newport News boy battling cancer.

Months ago we told you about Nazea Twiggs, a once active boy who learned he had cancer in his knee. The cancer eventually spread to his lungs. 

His mother Darnella Beale said her son has had several medical procedures. 

“Nazea has had 51 tumors removed from his body he has had three, four, five, six surgeries,” Beale said.  

Initially the cancer went into remission, but the tumors have since returned very aggressively to Nazea’s lungs. 

Local doctors told Nazea’s family there was nothing they could medically do to help. They then informed Nazea’s mother about an experimental treatment being offered at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  

Beale said the treatment is free and physicians and the insurance company have okayed the procedure, but the family has hit yet another road block.  The hospital is denying the treatment; wanting to negotiate more money out of the insurance company.

"They are putting a number on my son’s life, “ Beale said.  

In response, the hospital released the following statement to 13News Now: 

"At times, decisions regarding access to clinical trials for cancer patients can be very complex. These can sometimes be difficult situations for both families and cancer care providers. This is why The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center regularly works with insurers, including Medicare and Medicaid, to assist patients in receiving coverage. Often these efforts are successful, but sadly this is not always the case. It is important to recognize that clinical trials should not be considered a standard treatment, proven therapy or cure. They are considered experimental treatments to help develop better ways to fight cancer."

In the meantime, Nazea says he's still optimistic. 

“Just gotta do what I gotta do. I did it before, I can do it once again. Got my friends, got my family, God on my side -- so it’s a piece of cake,” he said.