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Editorial Issue 56

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 56 - September 2000

In a recent BBC2 documentary exploring the UK's poor cancer survival rate, members of a UK Parliamentary scientific select committee were seen visiting the USA's National Cancer Institute (NCI), as well as Finland's public health and cancer epidemiological specialists.

The members were filmed meeting with senior oncologists and laboratory directors, viewing the state-of-the-art research facilities and talking with cancer patients and their families. In America, much was made of the vociferous 'cancer lobby', in which members of the public are able to address Senate Committees regarding their particular cancer interest group. Also highlighted was the importance of government funding for cancer research, the existence of a centralized Cancer Institute, and the close proximity between the research laboratories, clinicians and cancer patients. Also shown was a planned meeting with major pharmaceutical companies, to which not a single company representative turned up.

Finland's better cancer prognosis statistics were thought to be due to that country's superior health education in the general population, enabling people to detect symptoms at an earlier time, a lack of waiting lists for treatment, government funding and priority for cancer research, as well as centralized, excellent institutes dedicated to cancer research.

In the UK, there is little government-funded research; most is funded by charities, there is no central cancer institute, huge variability in the standard of cancer treatment across the UK, and there are horrendous waiting lists for treatment. Added to that is the fairly mediocre standard of scientific and medical literacy among the general population. Is it no wonder that we fare badly in cancer survival?

However true all the above may be, my over-riding impression with this documentary was the total lack of any mention of cancer treatments apart from drugs, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and bone-marrow transplantation!!! Not a word about Nutrition, Essential Oils/Aromatherapy, Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, nor quality-of-life treatments which boost cancer sufferer's morale, such as Massage, Chi Kung, Reflexology, Homeopathy and Meditation.

As usual, the entire input was monopolized by conventional medical approaches, leaving out vast clinical treatment disciplines with massive clinical literatures documenting their efficacy in cancer treatment. Is it no wonder that upon their return to the UK, this committee's recommendation was for a central cancer institute, more government funding, etc.?

It is soul-destroying to spend one's career poring over the scientific and clinical literature documenting the efficacy of alternative cancer treatment approaches, and to never hear nor see an acknowledgement to any of the research advances of nutrients, herbs or essential oils. Is this ignorance, deliberate suppression, obfuscation or simply horizontal sidelining of these important developments by medical and political leaders? How many researchers, how many decades and how much money has to be spent on non-drug approaches to medical treatment before this even gets onto the agenda?

Doctors want credible information regarding complementary medicine. In Einarson et al (see Research Updates page 40) a survey from Toronto Canada indicated that 86% of doctors and 74% of medical students wanted complementary medical education incorporated into the standard medical curriculum. Well, that certainly would be a start.

What is really required is to integrate complementary medicine into standard medical treatment, period. So that when you go to visit your doctor with high blood pressure, or gall stones or IBS, you may be offered a plethora of treatment choices which don't require you being subjected to powerful drugs with even more serious side effects, unless your life is in immediate danger.

At the moment, we barely have half a medical system. We visit the doctor with a rash, or a cold, or a sleep problem, or mus-culoskeletal complaint, we get an accurate diagnosis, but the treatment options we are offered merely include drugs, surgery or basically wait until it goes away. How much healthier we would be if we could be treated with natural, non-toxic medicines and gentle, less invasive approaches where appropriate.

Positive Health is now in its seventh year. We have published over 1000 research abstracts and probably 500 authoritative articles regarding the effective treatment using complementary approaches for almost every condition. These have also been published on the internet for all to see – no excuses there for our international colleagues.

It is great that serious complementary practitioners are doing a tremendous job in treating their patients; it is not good enough that all this work appears to be ignored and sidelined by mainstream doctors and politicians.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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