Alternative Cancer Treatments
I've worked as a therapist for about 30 years now, and in that time I've seen all kinds of clients with all kinds of issues. I've worked with people in abusive relationships – both the abusers and the abused. I've worked with drug dependent patients who are constantly struggling with the danger of relapsing. I have worked with many delusional, or even psychotic patients, and once or twice have even been afraid for my life. But for me the most difficult (to say nothing of heartbreaking) patients to work with are those who have been diagnosed with a terminal disease.
When you start looking into alternative medicine, you have probably reached the end of your rope. One of my patients, we will call her Mary, has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Everything that she has tried has failed, and the doctors have given her a year or less to live. She has been looking into alternative cancer treatment. Now, for every possible crackpot alternative cancer treatment that you can imagine, there are probably two or three in reality. There is even an organization – I think it is called the alternative cancer treatment instituted or something like that – that is run by all these crackpot schemes to exploit the hope of dying people. There are alternative cancer treatments that involve everything from herbs, to diets, to fasts, to so-called healing touch. There is even an
alternative cancer treatment that involves dream interpretation. They claim that if you know the meaning of your dreams, the
cancer will go away.
I find all this alternative lung cancer treatment stuff to be revolting. Of course it is good to keep hope with the dying, but all this alternative cancer treatment seems to just exploit them for profit while giving them no real chance of recovery. I guess I have some colleagues that see things quite differently. I know an internist, for example, who believes wholeheartedly in some of the alternative cancer treatments. He believes that more research needs to be done, but he claims that at least one form of herbal alternative cancer treatment offers great hope of recovery in some cases. I don't know. I hope that he is right, but I think that this is just wishful thinking. The fact is that, as a doctor, he wants to do everything that he can to make sure that his patients do well. Sometimes he has such a strong desire to believe that it compromises his ability to act as a scientist.
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