I sometimes joke that it is good that I helped develop an effective treatment regimen for CFS/Fibromyalgia instead of for cancer, because if I had developed a cancer cure I'd likely have been arrested. Sadly, this "joke" carries all too much truth. Although most oncologists are very well-meaning and caring individuals, chemotherapy and radiation therapy is an extremely profitable area. This makes it easy to simply go to conferences and see what the esteemed (and usually on the drug company payroll) professors are saying, promoting the newest and usually most expensive chemotherapy agents. The oncologists are assured that the treatment helps the patients, and it is profitable for the physician, so why question it.
Meanwhile, it is implied that anyone proposing a natural (and therefore competing) treatment for cancer must simply be trying to "rip off desperate and vulnerable patients" and therefore physicians must protect the gullible public from these charlatans. This convenient belief system allows the medical establishment to self righteously insure that the public does not have ready access to alternative cancer therapies. Sadly, this protects the Cancer Industry's profits at your expense.
This is not to say that one should not take chemotherapy or radiation therapy for their cancer. In many cases, these can be life saving, and I recommend them along side natural therapies. In some cases, however, these treatments offer minimal benefit at the cost of enormous toxicity, and in other cases (such as blocking testosterone in early prostate cancer patients—see the research brief below) actually may offer the patient no benefit despite causing marked toxicity.
I know it is hard to know what to do when your oncologist (and most that I've met are incredibly caring and well meaning) slams taking natural therapies on one side while your natural doctor attacks the chemo as killing you. The good news is that there is really little or no conflict between natural and medical cancer treatments—just between the people offering them. The premise of "Comprehensive Medicine," which is to use the best of natural and prescription therapies, applies brilliantly in treating cancer.
I have found that knowledge is power, and that an informed patient, given expert guidance, usually does well. Because of this, I recommend that my cancer patients get a medical report on their specific type and stage of cancer from Jan Guthrie at Health Resources. It costs about $500 (cost is based on the complexity of the case), but if one has cancer it is very worthwhile. She will put together a detailed report (free of any financial bias toward either the natural or standard medicine side) of the actual studies and review articles for both the natural and chemo/radiation options. Though the studies are written in "medicalese," the study abstracts/summaries will give you a good sense of just how effective (or ineffective and toxic) various treatment options are, so you can make an informed choice. To help you interpret the report and guide you on creating an optimized treatment program, I recommend you work by phone with a health consultant who can help you interpret and make sense of these studies, and guide you in general. Though he is not a physician, I highly recommend Rev. Bren Jacobson (by phone 443-949-0409; he charges $95/hour, which is a real bargain given his expertise in sorting through the research on both standard and natural therapies). He is extraordinarily smart and knowledgeable, is very comfortable working with the technical research, and has a wonderful knack for telling what's helpful vs. nonsense and sales hype.