"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." William Shakespeare, Hamlet. The ongoing conflict between the medical fraternity and proponents of alternative medicine does not help the sick person, who usually simply wants to get well again by the best possible means. Can one unquestioningly follow one's doctor's advice or is there a valid foundation for some of the accusations leveled against conventional medicine? A few examples can throw some light on this issue: 1) Hormone replacement therapy. Recent studies have confirmed previous suspicions that hormone replacement therapy significantly increases the risk of cancer. Cancer is extremely serious and life threatening, unlike hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause that are only temporary and can be alleviated by safe alternative means such as a controlled diet, herbal supplements and exercise. But hormone replacement therapy continues to be prescribed by doctors and marketed by drug companies on a large scale. 2) Chemotherapy and radiation. In most cases the long-term survival rate with these therapies is poor. This is not surprising since chemotherapy is a poison that attacks not only the tumour but also the whole body, while doing nothing to eliminate the cause of cancer. It often does more harm than good. Yet most doctors and oncologists persist with these treatments only, and do not even mention simple steps relating to diet, internal detoxification, exercise and emotional uncluttering that can at best be life saving and at least do no harm. 3) Circumcision. When carried out in a crude fashion on young men in third world areas as part of initiation ceremonies, this is condemned. Yet, under clinical circumstances, the same procedure is widely inflicted on babies by western doctors, being offered to parents as an option. Millions, apart from those for whom it is a religious rite, have been subjected to this procedure which has only harmful effects. This obvious abuse of human rights, where a child's body is mutilated without him having any say in the matter, has for decades received the silent approval of medical associations. These are only some examples showing that there is indeed cause for alarm. To conclude: one cannot implicitly put one's health in the care of doctors and be assured of receiving the best treatment (not necessarily the most expensive or high-tech one). Consequently each person should take personal control of his own health, do his or her own research, and make his or her own decisions. The rapidly growing move towards alternative practitioners is a direct result of the fact that: Something is rotten in the state of Medicine. Christopher Browne.