Cancer is on the rise. According to a recent report by Macmillan Cancer Support, nearly half of all Britons will receive a diagnosis during their lifetime. Billions of pounds are spent researching and trialling conventional medical treatments, and health advances are made year on year, extending the lives of patients beyond what was previously thought possible.
There is not, however, and probably never will be, a “golden bullet” – a cure-all for the array of cancers that threaten us. Cancer is a vast and ever-changing problem, and we must keep finding new ways to confront it. We will rightly continue to turn to the medical profession first. But there is a growing number of people in Britain seeking alternative approaches too, and making their voices heard. It’s a controversial area polarising opinion.
According to the breast-cancer charity The Haven, 89 per cent of its service users found that non-medical, complementary therapies (including herbal medicine and nutritional, energy, touch and mind-body therapies) were “essential” to their recovery.
Sheila Dillon, the presenter of Radio 4’s The Food Programme and a cancer sufferer, has recently spoken out against the NHS’s refusal to accept that diet matters in the fight against cancer.