Is there really a connection between emotions and cancer development? There absolutely is! The way you think, behave, and react to the world around you (and your personal living environment in particular) have a huge impact on your physical wellbeing.
The Mind, The Body, and Cancer
For more than four decades, I’ve been talking at great length about the link between the human mind and how cancer begins. It’s only in the past few years that researchers around the world are proving my theories scientifically.
Emotions, personality, and disease are intrinsically linked in ways that may be difficult – even counterintuitive – to believe. However, to keep cancer (and many other serious diseases and conditions) out of your life, it’s critical that you open your mind to the concept.
After all, the medical community, pharmaceutical companies, and even big cancer organizations tell you most cancers can’t be prevented. They certainly never, ever talk about cancer being “cured” (it’s like a dirty word in the cancer industrial complex). They tell you it’s in “remission” – leaving patients waiting and wondering if or when it will come back.
That’s not stressful at all.
Sure, these days they’re finally talking about the importance of a good diet, exercise, and even sleep – but they never talk about emotions and cancer prevention. They never talk about how your emotions, how you think and feel, can manifest physically.
Your emotional and mental health is as critical to the prevention of disease as not smoking, eating right, and exercising every day.
Your chances of getting cancer – as well as your chances of beating it – depend largely on your mental and emotional strength.
The History of Cancer and Emotions
Forty years ago, when I started talking about how your emotions and behavior influence disease development and prognosis, I certainly wasn’t the first to make the connection!
During the reign of the Roman Empire, a Greek physician, surgeon, and philosopher named Galen once wrote that cancer was the result of too much black bile.
At the time, black bile was most often found in people considered melancholy (depressed, lethargic, or listless). He lived from 130-200 AD so this thinking has been around a very long time! Galen used the Greek word oncos (meaning swelling) to chart tumor growth. That’s how we now have the word oncology.
Neurophysiologist with the National Institutes of Health, Herbert Spector stated, “The ancients knew that the patient’s attitude was very important to his recovery, but modern medicine wrote it off as trivial. The new research makes it clear. Attitudes can matter. The focus now should be on discovering the mechanisms involved – the question is: what is the biochemistry of all this?”
How You Think Matters (It’s More Than “Happy Thoughts”)!
Today, science had determined that patients with emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, poor self-control, pessimism, or an inadequate emotional support system (friends and family) generally have a poorer prognosis in their cancer fight.
Diversely, patients with a positive outlook, good self-control, emotional strength, and a stronger support system end up with a better prognosis.
Good coping techniques during treatment for cancer, such as managing stress and having supportive family and friends, improves your odds of survival!
It should come as no surprise to anyone that negative emotions are a definite side effect of cancer and can absolutely limit recovery…but are they also part of the cause? The answer should have been obvious to medical professionals and scientists for decades.
So, what’s the link between emotions and cancer? Your immune system (of course)!
Depression, apathy, anxiety, hopelessness, or even stoicism (suppressing or hiding all emotion – positive or negative) can affect how resilient your immune system is…and you need your immune system to fight cancer.
Many studies have shown that chronic stress exerts a general immunosuppressive effect. That means it suppresses or withholds the body’s immune response promptly and effectively.
This isn’t about just “thinking positive.” You can be furious at the cancer, frightened of the outcome, and yet still have a “fighting spirit” that you’re going to beat it, you’re going to win.
Many people dismiss the emotion and cancer theory by arguing that most cancers have been developing for years and are diagnosed only after they have been growing in the body for a long time.
Therefore, the time association between the death of a loved one (for instance) and the triggering of cancer doesn’t hold, according to their logic.
Those people aren’t using logic at all!
Their entire argument is based on pure speculation. If the cancer was unknown prior to diagnosis, who can say what it was doing or how fast it was growing?
Cancer is very much an issue with your immune system and there’s a new field of study that addresses it called psychoneuroimmunology. This area explores how your mental and emotional state affects your immune response.
There are rogue cancer cells in everyone’s blood at all times. Your immune system spots them and takes them out using natural killer (NK) cells. There comes a point – much of this goes back to my many articles on toxic body burden or toxic overload – where your immune system isn’t catching those rogue cells anymore.
That’s the part all of us need to focus on. Whether you’ve never had cancer, are fighting it now, or have been in remission – you have to address your immune system health.
A weak immune system makes people more susceptible to cancer.
One study of more than 2,000 Western Electric employees that spanned 17 years found that employees who battled depression developed cancer 2.5 times more those with strong emotional coping mechanisms.
There is so much more ground to cover here but I think you’re seeing the very real links between things like stress management, emotions, and cancer development.
Read my book “The Psychology of Cancer” to learn more as I dig deep into this field of study and show you why how you think, behave, and feel does have an impact on whether you get cancer – and whether you beat it.