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Cancer: optimism is not a cure-all

Published on October 21, 2015 at 14:42 / Updated on March 3, 2020 at 15:59

It would seem that many people have overestimated the power of mental strength in the fight against cancer. Contrary to the popular belief that positive thinking increases a patient’s chances for survival, American researchers found that a positive or negative state of mind has no direct bearing on the outcome of the fight against this disease.

However, the results of this study should not discourage people from adopting a fighting spirit. Therefore, patients who wish to pursue psychotherapy or join a support group should have every opportunity to do so. Even though these resources will not directly influence a patient’s chances for recovery and survival, they can offer numerous emotional and social benefits.

Even if emotions do not have a direct impact on the cancer itself, a patient’s state of mind can have long-term effects. Thankfully, more and more people survive cancer today, and their life after the disease could be influenced by their state of mind. For example, depression and anxiety can complicate and impede a survivor’s return to a normal and healthy life.

But these results should also serve to reassure people suffering from cancer. Once the disease has been diagnosed, and treatments have begun, many feel pressured to manage their disease well, and to stay positive. Hence, it is entirely normal to feel sad and worried after having received such a diagnosis…but this state of mind is unlikely to have any consequences on the outcome of a treatment. Nevertheless, it is suggested that patients and their loved ones utilize the resources available to them, to help them live through this difficult and challenging period. A positive outlook can help a patient get through harsh and difficult therapies, so they can get back to a normal life.

There are numerous resources to help people battling cancer, and you should not be afraid to take advantage of them! So keep on fighting!

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