Saturday, March 14, 2015

No alternative

I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for oncologists and other health professionals to have to deal with patients convinced of the healing powers of alternative therapy. In the circumstances, I suppose it's understandable that people would want to cling to any source of hope rather than acting rationally and basing their decisions on medical advice and the weight of research findings. But, of course, that's precisely what makes the likes of homeopathy so popular. No matter that an Australian report has recently declared that it is "not effective for treating any health condition" - the fact that it offers the promise of good health is enough for people to place their faith in it.

Not only is alternative therapy the worst kind of charlatanism, with its snake oil salesmen making money out of the desperation and vulnerability of the seriously ill, it can also be downright dangerous. Some argue that, even if alternative treatments can't improve physical health, they still have merit if they can improve psychological wellbeing - but that's to ignore the very real issue of alternative therapies actually conflicting with and counteracting proven medical treatments.

My gran has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, but thankfully I'm pretty certain she's got sufficient good sense and pragmatism not to be taken in by any false promises and will instead leave it to the qualified professionals to guide her treatment.

(Thanks to Mhairi for the links.)

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