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The Emotional Impact of a Cancer Diagnosis
Written By : Claude Lambert, MD 
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Most of us live our lives without much thought about a serious accident or illness. Can you imagine how stressful and unhealthy it would be to act differently and worry constantly about disease. We take for granted that we will be OK as long as we don't live too dangerously.

Then, one day, a doctor tells you that you have cancer. This is bad news. Your first reaction can be disbelief, questioning, fear and anger. The immediate thought that comes to mind is: will this cancer kill me and when? Then, in a flash, all the images we have seen of cancer zip through our mind: multiple tests and surgeries, long painful treatments, loss of control on our life, grief at the prospect of dying soon and leaving our loved ones after being a burden to them for months. Very few challenges in one's life can be as devastating as this. Simultaneously, our loves ones go through the same grief and fear.

We have improved our ability to detect cancer earlier with screening tests like mammograms and PSA. Medicine has made great progress in treating most types of tumors. The cancer statistics have been improving gradually and tremendous resources are spent every day worldwide in the search for the cure. Very little however has been done in taking care of the emotional aspects of such a challenge as cancer.

Modern medicine has slipped into the "mechanical" concept of the body as an isolated entity. We can probe, cut and paste, manipulate and rearrange this biological "machine" with surgery, radiation and powerful chemicals. Unfortunately, it is often forgotten that there is a human person living inside this biological machine, a person with feelings, thoughts, beliefs, aspirations and sensitivity. A person who's feelings and thoughts have a very direct impact on the functioning of this biological entity.

As a doctor, I recognize the wisdom of deploying all of our technological knowhow to fight cancerous tumors. However, I believe that we really miss the mark when we limit ourselves to focus on a tumor. I do not see a case of cancer, but rather a suffering human being in distress who is harboring a tumor. This is a completely different perspective and, in my opinion, the only one that a cancer sufferer deserves. We could say pretty much the same about any serious illness.

This is where it is crucial for someone diagnosed with cancer to seek immediate help from a "holistic" source, since the majority of doctors are unprepared to deal with the emotional dimension of their patients. There are many experts capable of assisting the cancer patient with promoting hope and confidence and peace of mind. Science has proven that we can significantly improve the quality of life of a cancer patient with a psychologically directed intervention and that the survival itself doubles. The unhealthy feelings of depression, worry, fear and hopelessness have been proven to reduce the number and activity of your natural killer cells, other immune system components and healing and protective hormones and neurotransmitters. These are necessary to successfully fight a cancer.

Medical treatment is wise, but it is insufficient to heal or cure people challenged with cancer. More humanistic intervention is necessary to improve not only survival but the quality of life of the patient. More information is available at the following link.

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 successful psychological intervention home program.

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

Go to

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