Positive Thinking – success of cancer treatment and positive outlook of patient – Brief Article

Naomi Goldstein


When it comes to breast cancer, does a positive attitude help? Survivors seem to think so.

University of Toronto researchers, who recently published their results in Psycho-Ontology, interviewed 300 women who had been cancer-free for at least two years. They asked the women what they think caused the disease and what they’ve done to prevent its return. More than 40% of the women blamed stress for the disease’s onset over scientifically linked factors such as genetics and environment. The study also showed 60% believe a positive attitude has kept them healthy.

“We were surprised,” says lead researcher Donna Stewart, M.D., the women’s health chair at the University Health Network. “We had no idea positive attitude was going to be as high as it turned out to be.”

Stewart says the results could be considered distressing if they indicate women don’t know enough about real factors that contribute to the disease. But the results also may be positive. “It may be useful for some women to [think they have] control over a scary disease,” she says.

Edibaldo Silva, M.D., the head of the Breast Cancer Center at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, isn’t surprised by the results. Silva questions the findings showing that women connect the disease to stress because many patients feel healthy and not at all stressed when diagnosed, but he does think a positive outlook can be helpful. “I can’t explain it in scientific terms, but it’s not a placebo,” he says.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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