Comprehensive Cancer Care

Conference-Patient Perspectives

Cancer patients want alternatives to traditional care. But most mainstream physicians are reluctant to treat them with unproven therapies.

This partly explains why nearly 1,400 patients, doctors, researchers and a bewildering range of alternative practitioners gathered earlier this month in Arlington for the third annual Comprehensive Cancer Care Conference.

Among them was Thomas Andrews, 47, a former Democratic congressman from Maine who was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma when he was 16 and had a recurrence at age 22. "From my experience, oncologists know a great deal about cancer, but know nothing about you," he said. "We need information about treatment options, even if they are not what the practitioner believes in--we want practitioners to approach us with openness and humility."

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