Wednesday, October 19, 2005

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Many physicians believe it is not unreasonable for someone in the last
stages of an incurable cancer to try something unproven. But, for
example, if a woman with an early stage of breast cancer wanted to
try shark cartilage (an unproven treatment that may inhibit the growth
of cancer tumors, currently undergoing clinical trials), those same
doctors would probably say, "Don't do it," because there are so many
effective conventional treatments.
Jacobs warns that, "If an alternative practitioner does not want to
work with a regular doctor, then he's suspect."

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"It is best not to abandon conventional therapy when there is a known
response [in the effectiveness of that therapy]," says Joseph Jacobs,
M.D., former director of the National Institutes of Health's Office of
Alternative Medicine, which was established in October 1992. As an
example he cites childhood leukemia, which has an 80 percent cure
rate with conventional therapy.
But what if conventional therapy holds little promise?