Criticism of John Diamond needed public airing; Was Diamond’s cancer f

* Congratulations for having the courage to write about John Diamond (WDDTY vol 12 no 5). There may well be others who will seek to vilify you, but a publicly expressed view needed to be said and you did it well!- U.R.D., Stafford

* Like you, I kept my counsel during the ‘death watch’, as I felt John Diamond needed something to vent his anger on. However, I once wrote that an initial sensitisation could have come from the formaldehyde in his father’s lab which he mentions sniffing, in his earlier ‘C’ book, as a happy memory.- P.J., by fax

*To use your own words, I think it would have been better if you had ‘kept your mouth uncharacteristically shut’. An editorial in this tone does harm to a minority publication and can detract from the worthiness of its cause.

I do not know exactly what your mission statement is, but I assume it is to report scientifically on both orthodox and complementary medicine, thereby giving the reader the information to make their own choice. That is what John Diamond did.

By detailing his illness so graphically, he did a tremendous amount to remove the taboo about cancer and also to enlighten the medical profession on the patient’s perspective. I have no doubt that some of the advice he received from advocates of non-orthodox approaches was not what you would wish to feature in your magazine. Not all non-orthodox practices are helpful to patients. We cannot therefore be surprised that a witty journalist would use this to his advantage.

I found your statement ‘he killed himself’ particularly offensive. We all know that some non-smokers develop cancer, just as some heavy smokers do not. Again, that is one of the life choices that people make in the knowledge that they will have to face the consequences.

I suppose that the majority of the population shares his view of medicine as ‘a stark either-or choice’. I believe that when representing minority views, it is a waste of energy and somewhat undignified to go on the attack. (I say this as a teetotal vegan).

It might be helpful to consider the stance of the Vegetarian Society, whose aim is to sell vegetarianism. This does not include attacking factory farming, etc. Surely a positive aim is desirable? People will read your magazine and the wider media, and make their own informed choices.- L.B., Bournemouth

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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