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How court-ordered chemo is impacting Connecticut teen

Last Updated Mar 9, 2015 9:33 PM EDT

HARTFORD, Conn. -- A lawyer for a 17-year-old Connecticut girl forced to undergo chemotherapy by the state after she refused treatment says her cancer appears to be in remission.

Assistant Public Defender Joshua Michtom said Monday that the girl's recent medical scan showed no signs of Hodgkin's lymphoma. The girl is identified in court documents as Cassandra C.

Michtom says Cassandra remains confined to a Hartford hospital room. He says a court hearing is scheduled for next week on whether Cassandra should remain in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families.

A judge granted the agency temporary custody in November after she refused chemo. Cassandra and her mother fought the order in court and argued that she was mature enough to make her own medical decisions.

The state supreme court heard the case in January but rejected that argument and ordered the treatment to continue.

In an interview the day after the ruling came down, Cassandra told The Associated Press she didn't want to poison her body with chemo and would rather explore alternative treatments. She said via text that she understood she could die without chemotherapy, but preferred to focus on "the quality of my life, not the quantity."

The teen's mother, Jackie Fortin, had defended her daughter's right to refuse unwanted medical treatment.

"She does not want the toxins. She does not want people telling her what to do with her body and how to treat it," Fortin told "CBS This Morning" before the court ruling in January ordered chemo to resume. "They are also killing her body. They are killing her organs. They're killing her insides."

"I'm proud of her. I am proud of her for standing up and fighting for what she wants and what she doesn't want," Fortin said.

The type of cancer Cassandra has, Hodgkin's (or Hodgkin) lymphoma, is a cancer of the lymphatic system that strikes about 9,000 Americans each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. Experts say chemotherapy treatment for it is estimated to have between an 85 and 90 percent success rate.