I HAVE said it time and time again – cancer isn’t a battle we win or lose and “fighting” it only puts pressure on all us folk trying as best we can to live.
Now, finally, someone has found through research that these war metaphors are genuinely unhealthy.
Kris wants to ditch the negative metaphors surrounding cancer[/caption]
According to psychology professors in Canada and the US, terms such as “fight” and “battle” lead to anxiety and a negative outlook on treatments.
Those exposed to such language view cancer treatment more harshly than those not exposed to it.
The fear makes people not want to learn about the signs and symptoms, and can we blame them?
Research by Dr David R Hamilton, a scientist who used to work in the pharmaceutical industry, has shown how important thinking and feelings are in relation to illness.
He says your brain responds to tough situations by releasing stress hormones.
Physical changes do occur in the brain caused by what the person believes or expects will happen.
Dr Hamilton explains this through the placebo effect.
Placebo analgesia, for example, is the reduction in pain that occurs when a person takes a substance they believe is a painkiller.
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The relief occurs because the person’s brain makes its own painkillers.
According to him, visualisations are important too.
Some research has shown that repetitively visualising the immune system working can enhance its performance.
In randomised controlled trials of patients undergoing cancer treatment, those who visualised experienced a higher clinical response to treatment than patients who didn’t.
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So the way I view my cancer now, after ten years, is way kinder than it used to be.
I too used to think I was being pumped with “poison” – now I view it to be truly healing and powerful.
I know this switch in attitude and language has helped me to stay well.
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