Letter: Search for answers to the rising rate of cancer

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The Independent Online
Sir: You write about the increase in cancer and how, despite hundreds of millions of pounds spent over many decades, the war is being lost. The reply of those responsible is, as always, to talk of jam tomorrow. Why should we believe that their promises for the future are any more likely to be realised than they have been in the past?

In Western society we hold our scientists in too much awe, and the power they wield can be corrupting. What is especially tragic is that there is a wide variety of promising alternative approaches to the usual surgery, radiotherapy and drugs-based treatments, waiting to be properly investigated.

Practitioners of nutritional, herbal and other therapies have neither the money nor the expertise to do this themselves. It needs a radical change of heart, as well as management, among those within the NHS, the research councils and other charities whose hands control the levers of power. Maybe it is also time for some patient activism, such as we have seen in the USA in the case of Aids.


Chairman, Parliamentary Group for Alternative and Complementary Medicine

House of Lords