For many years, cancer patients have been told that thinking positively about their chances is going to help them survive. However, recent studies have dispelled this myth by showing that people who think positively are just as likely to die from cancer as people who are pessimistic or realistic about their chances.
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This article deals with
treatment, emotional health, counseling
Cancer is serious business. It is a deadly illness that has claimed many lives, and will continue to take lives despite the variety of treatment options available for it. Cancer is considered in some circles as the best place to exercise the supposed power of “positive thinking.” In theory, a person in stable emotional health and positive mindset is more likely to survive a brutal illness, such as cancer, than someone who simply accepts defeat and gives in to “fate.” However, recent studies have found that there is really no truth to that previously accepted notion, with scientific data showing that people who were optimistic about their chances were just as likely to bite the dust as those who held more realistic, or even pessimistic, views of their chances of survival.
Emotional health and status, according to the study recently concluded under the supervision of Dr. James Coyne, held no bearing on the chances of survival. According to the data gathered over a period of several years, which include detailed analysis of two different studies on cancer, there was no correlation between feelings and cancer. The study went to great pains to eliminate other possible factors affecting the survival of a cancer patient, including gender, psychological factors, the location of the tumor, and the stage of the disease. The results universally showed that positivity had no effect whatsoever on the chances of survival, but the researchers do concede that psychological and emotional support does still provide help for cancer patients. It just doesn’t really do anything to extend one’s life or help treatment methods in making the cancer recede.
The study covered several types of cancer, with the test subjects being in different stages of the disease. The researchers also took consideration of a pool of patients in different methods of cancer treatment, to obtain the best possible data and results for the study. Of the 1,093 patients who were included in the study, over 646 of them had died during the timespan of the study. The researchers took careful note of everything they could, including outlook, attitude, psychological state, and emotional health. Their data effectively discards the long-held notion that positive thinking and emotions can help prolong a person’s life, which has been among the most prevalent pieces of advice that doctors provide their patients.
The research team also determined that those with more “realistic” expectations, or were outright pessimistic about their chances, did not have a higher mortality rate than their happier counterparts. This, too, contradicts previously held notions that negative thinking can aid in the spread of a tumor. The only real discrepancy the study could note was that pessimistic patients tended to be less eager to work their way through the difficult methods of fighting cancer, which did have an effect on their chances. However, removing negative perceptions and emotions altogether did not have any feasible effect on its own.
The researchers aren’t saying that people should forbid cancer patients from engaging or joining in support groups or psychiatric counseling sessions. There are still benefits to allowing a patient to go to those groups if they want to. The effects, however, are likely going to be purely psychological.