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Connecticut teen forced into chemo suffers new health issue

A Connecticut teenager who was forced by the courts to undergo chemotherapy for her cancer last year says a new mass has been found in her lungs.

Cassandra Callender of Windsor Locks, known as "Cassandra C." during her legal fight to refuse traditional cancer treatments, disclosed the news Saturday on her Facebook page along with an image of a CT scan showing the mass inside her lung, reports CBS Connecticut.

Callender, who is now 18 years old and legally able to make her own treatment decisions, wrote on Facebook: "I've known about this for a while, but it's been hard going public with it. But this is why I fought so hard against chemotherapy. I am so sick of being treated like a number and how everything is based off of statistics. I am a patient not a number."

She had been in remission after undergoing five months of forced chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma when she was 17. Hodgkin's is a cancer of the lymphatic system, part of the immune system, but it can spread to other areas of the body.

At the time, Callender had said she didn't want to poison her body with chemotherapy. Her case went to the state Supreme Court, which ruled in January 2015 that Connecticut's Department of Children and Families wasn't violating her rights by requiring her to undergo treatment.

Doctors said treatment with chemotherapy would give her an 85 percent chance of survival, but without it she would likely die within two years.

She was released from the hospital after completing chemotherapy last April.

But in her Facebook post, Callender wrote: "Unfortunately I didn't make the 85%, I fell into the 15%."

Now, Callender tells the AP, she is "moving forward with alternative treatments."