This section reviews alternative therapies, anticancer therapies offered outside of mainstream cancer treatment programs. Most of these methods are based on unfounded theories and involve considerable travel or expense; many are also known to incur significant risks of adverse events. It is common for advocates of alternative therapies to promote their treatment instead of conventional care. For example, Nicholas Gonzalez, a private physician in New York who treats cancer with a regimen that involves diet, vitamins, enzymes, and enemas, has stated that "You don't do chemotherapy and [my regimen]. You do one or the other."19 This feeling raises the possibility that patients may be harmed by postponing care of proven benefit, an especially important consideration given that alternative cancer therapies are shown to be ineffective when subjected to clinical trial.
The related principle is the importance of trying to dissuade patients from using unproven cancer therapies. These therapies are typified by one or more of the following characteristics:
1. Promoted as effective against a wide range of ailments
2. The government or medical profession is said to conspire to suppress the therapy
3. Use of testimonials instead of facts and figures
4. Product is available from only one source
5. Credibility based on having been available for years and on anecdotal reports
6. New laws of nature are used to explain how it works
7. Promoted as "less toxic" than mainstream cancer treatment
8. Recommended for use instead of mainstream cancer treatments
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