Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Stay Positive. Optimism and Cancer Survival

Guest blogger Trevor Bradshaw is a dedicated cancer advocate and aspiring writer, who is very passionate about educating people on the power of optimism in fighting cancer.
Just Stay Positive.  Optimism and Cancer Survival, Trevor Bradshaw
We hear it so often that sometimes, it seems like we don’t even listen to it at all but is there more to the phrase “just stay positive” than even the most ardent optimists would have guessed?  Scientists, who are studying the new field of physchoneuroimmunology and exploring the interactions between the body’s nervous and immune systems, believe that there just might be.  In fact, studies are showing that the power of positive thinking might even be strong enough to fight against cancer!
Although scientists are still at a loss to explain it, several recent studies have shown an extremely strong connection between positivity and cancer patients’ survival rates.  An extensive study performed by the Mayo Cancer clinic showed that the cancer mortality rate is a shocking 19% higher for pessimists than it is for optimists.  Some scientists posit that the gap in life expectancy and cancer mortality rates is primarily due to too much negative thinking.  They point to new research on the effects of norepinephrine (released into the bloodstream in large amounts when you feel stressed) that has demonstrated a direct correlation between too much stress and tumor growth.  The new studies show that norepinephrine increases cancerous tumor cell growth in mice and scientists now believe that it plays a significant role in ovarian cancer in humans as well.   Those who believe in the power of positivity point to studies showing optimists’  increased life expectancy in cancers caused by environmental factors like peritoneal mesothelioma.
While there is still much research to be done before you’ll hear your doctor prescribe “just stay positive” as a treatment for cancer, it is increasingly commonplace for doctors to recommend patients diagnosed with rare cancers like mesothelioma to attend support groups.  In fact, with its low survival rate, limited treatment options, and relative rareness, it should come as no surprise that mesothelioma support groups are quickly becoming one of the top complementary treatments for mesothelioma patients. Because support groups allow patients an outlet to discuss their myriad emotions and reactions with others in a like-minded community, they can decrease the dangerous levels of stress associated with cancer and promote positivity. And after all, maybe there’s more to that old advice “just stay positive” than we ever thought.

No comments: