The following is an editorial statement, the opinion of the editor:
"In my years on the pediatric oncology lists, the subject of "alternative" therapies has not come up very often. Occasionally a member will state that they have been approached with a treatment which is rather obviously "quack" therapy, and other members quickly post with advice to stay with conventional chemotherapy. Many times, parents speak of complementary treatments, especially support such as massage therapy, Reiki, (more. .. .), visualization, physician-approved consults with herbalists: parents feel comfortable with these complementary treatments and report that they seem to help their child. But few parents in the groups have chosen a true course of alternative treatments - not quack treatments - to the exclusion of chemotherapy - unless conventional therapy has failed (and they want to extend their child's life as long as possible as comfortably as possible). Why do so few parents of children with cancer shun conventional therapy for alternative treatments? I feel that perhaps it is partly because parents do not want to take a chance with their child's life, while if it were themselves, they might try it. Maybe it's because children's hospitals in the US offer standard treatments/clinical trials that are proven to give their child 50-90% long term event-free survival rates. Maybe it's because parents who opt for alternative treatments do not stay in the lists because they feel like the other members believe in conventional treatment while they do not."