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Beliefs & Attitudes Influence Cancer Outcomes
Written By : Claude Lambert, MD 
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Cancer is a very threatening disease. The outcome can be a cure, a temporary remission or death. Neither one is really predictable. We see disseminated cancers go into prolonged remissions and apparently more benign ones taking a disappointing course. What has puzzled doctors for a long time is this: why do we often see two similar patients with the same degree of disease and receiving the same treatment, experience totally different outcomes? One will die within a short time while the other will live for years or decades.

This question troubled a radiation oncologist in the early 1970's. His mane was Dr. Carl Simonton, MD. He did his research at the University of Texas and came to realize a few things. Patients who had a strong will and a strong motivation to live usually outlived the ones who were discouraged and hopeless. I recommend you read his book: "Getting Well Again" for the whole story.

Based on this observation, Dr. Simonton designed an intervention program focused on changing the emotional attitudes of patients from hopelessness and depression to hopefulness and a heightened passion for living. The patients who did this work and modified their beliefs and attitudes lived twice as long as those who did not. This was the beginning of a revolution in cancer treatment.

Unfortunately, it took 20 years for the research to catch up with the concept and make it more acceptable to the medical establishment. Even with overwhelming evidence to support this fact, a large number of doctors are still fixated on physical treatment alone and have not yet read the research and caught up with the results. Psychoneuroimmunology, the discipline that studies the interactions between our mind (psycho), our brain (neuro) and our immune system, has long proven the intimate connection between those components of our defense system.

Our immune system is the primary defense mechanism we have against both infections and cancer. Natural killer cells, interleukins and other protective chemicals seek, attack and destroy or inhibit, in different ways, abnormal cells, including cancer cells. The number and the level of activity of NK (natural killer) cells is a good predictor of the outcome in cancer. Parallel to this mechanism is the complex array of hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate our immunity, the formation of new blood vessels and other healing mechanisms in our body.

Interestingly, it has been repeatedly proven that our emotional states have a direct and powerful influence on those hormones and chemicals. This modulation of our immune and other healing systems has been shown to correlate very intimately to specific emotions. For instance, anxiety and depression increase our serum cortisol level which turns off or tunes down the immune system. A state of hopefulness, enthusiasm about life, relaxation and purpose, on the other hand, stimulates our defense systems.

For that reason, cancer treatment that is limited to surgery, radiation or chemotherapy without a good psychological intervention is incomplete at best. As shown by many studies in prestigious universities, you reduce the survival by about 50% and allow a very poor quality of life for the patient if you do not pursue this counseling avenue. Relaxation exercises and the support of family and friends as well as going to a support group are already helping steps. However, a specific comprehensive intervention program will produce the best outcomes.

You need to identify the unhealthy beliefs that trigger the emotional distress and have a strategy to change those beliefs into life-supporting ones. You need to address life conditions, lifestyle changes and map a hope-sustaining plan for your future. You need to learn how to shield your emotional self from doom and gloom predictions of statistics or doctors or the media. You also greatly benefit from a deepening of your spiritual beliefs and from developing a real passion for your life. Then your quality of life will be significantly improved and your survival will double or more.

Such programs exist in different formats and locations and they can save your life. For more information on the research and on the tools for survival, as well as on specific cancer intervention programs, please visit the website listed below.

Dr Claude B Lambert MD invites you to visit this website. You will find select cancer self-help resources, amazing research results and have an opportunity to join a cancer survival forum and enroll in a comprehensive psychological intervention home program.

You will also have the opportunity to enroll in a FREE bi-monthly content-rich newsletter.

Go to right now and join today.

Find out more about: cancer
  More from Claude Lambert, MD
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