by Michael Lerner, 626 pp, $24.95, ISBN 0-262-12180-8, Cambridge, Mass, MIT Press, 1994.
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Thirteen million dollars funds the Office of Alternative Medicine within the $11 billion National Institutes of Health budget for this year—a small fraction, yet an outrage to some more conservative physicians and just as insulting to more fervent advocates of what are variously termed alternative, unorthodox, or quack methods of health care. You can usually guess where a health professional stands by the term chosen.
The author of this text, a professional political scientist, PhD, and educator (I hear some physicians grumbling "Oh, oh..."), chooses the term "complementary." In that, he immediately makes a bridge that many skeptics can at least approach. The text is both critical and hopeful toward both conventional and complementary methods of cancer therapy. Nowhere does the book discourage the undeniably toxic but standard methods, nor is "cure" ever promised for any of the panoply of methods he simply asks be considered as possible complements.
Merrill JM. Choices in Healing: Integrating the Best Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer. JAMA. 1995;273(7):597. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520310097040