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Cancer defeated

Cancer defeatedLee Euler, Editor

Excerpts from a Newsletter

Do You Have A Cancer-Prone Personality?

You’ve most likely heard of the Type A personality.

The Type A person is very competitive, strives for achievement, lacks patience, is easily provoked and displays anger openly. The theory has faded from favor, but at one time “experts” believed people with Type A personalities were at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

(continued from March 6,, 2015)

 PART II

Positive results from medical studies

Studies have been carried out to find if the experience of these and other doctors has any foundation. In some of the studies, the Type C trait (or collection of traits) has been found to be a feature.

For instance, in 1991 Australian researchers analyzed 600 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer to find out if personality was associated with the disease. The patients were compared to matched controls – very similar people who did not have cancer.

The researchers found that cancer patients were significantly more likely to show “the elements of denial and repression of anger and of other negative emotions…the external appearance of ‘nice’ or ‘good’ person, a suppression of reactions which may offend others, and the avoidance of conflict.”

One of the problems when looking at personality factors with respect to cancer is that in the Australian study, as well as in the experience of doctors who treat cancer, the disease has already been diagnosed.

Can we be sure that people who have been given such devastating news are going to display the same personality traits as they did before they met the doctor and received the diagnosis?

One way to find out is by taking psychological profiles of people before they go on to succumb to cancer.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University began a long term prospective study, starting in 1946, to see if psychological factors could predict future disease states. They followed 1,130 medical students over 18 years. The results came as a surprise to them.

“Our results appear to agree with findings that cancer patients ‘tend to deny and repress conflictual impulses and emotions to a higher degree than do other people.'”

Negative results from medical studies

Whilst many older studies endorse the idea of a cancer personality, most newer studies — using more advanced methodology — do not.

A review of studies in 2010 concluded that they “do not give much support to personality as a causative factor for cancer.”

Another review in 2014 included over 42,000 people and more than 2,000 suffering from six types of cancer amongst them. They looked at five personality traits – extraversion (sociable, outgoing personality), neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience.

They concluded that “none of the personality traits were associated with the incidence of all cancers or any of the six site-specific cancers.”

Another major long-term study was published in 2010. Nearly 60,000 people were followed for 30 years. The scientists looked at the personality traits of extraversion and neuroticism as well as many other risk factors. They concluded that these personality characteristics “were not significantly associated with risk of cancers.”

Is there a cancer personality or is it chronic stress?

Gabor Maté, a Canadian doctor, has studied the Type C personality extensively. He believes that the features of this personality make people of this type more vulnerable to stress.

“It is stress – not personality per se – that undermines a body’s physiological balance and immune defenses, predisposing to disease or reducing the resistance to it.

“Physiological stress, then, is the link between personality traits and disease.”

Dr. Temoshok disagrees.

“Stress per se is not a critical factor in illness – it’s the strength or weakness of one’s coping mechanism.”

Most oncologists are uncomfortable with the idea of a cancer personality because they believe patients will think they brought on the disease themselves. They say the research is inconclusive in any case.

Those that believe in the concept point out that it is just one of the many factors that have a role to play in the development of cancer.

I fall into this camp myself. I absolutely believe stress plays a role in cancer, and I also believe that personality traits likely play a role, too, for some people. After all, holding in anger all the time, or constantly trying to please others, is very stressful.

But as causes of cancer, I believe these emotional factors are overwhelmed by over-consumption of sugar and other carbs, nutrient-poor diets, poor exercise habits, poor sleep habits, exposure to toxins, and other factors that regular readers of this newsletter will be familiar with.

Just as people may change their diet, cut out smoking or reduce their environmental exposure to toxins in order to lower their cancer risk, so they should not shy away from looking at aspects of their personality that may damage their health. Both the sick and the healthy should look for ways to reduce these risk factors. Getting stress out of your life is essential not only to avoiding cancer, but to happiness in general.

Even if there isn’t a cancer personality as such, work with a health professional – if that’s what it takes — to learn to feel comfortable about taking time out for yourself, express yourself emotionally, be more assertive, and build greater self-esteem. These are valuable qualities for anyone, whatever their link to health may be.

Another valuable way to prevent cancer is to eat healthy food. See below if you missed the article in the last issue on a food that’s especially powerful. It’s often overlooked.

End of PART II

To be continued PART III

 

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Cancer defeatedLee Euler, Editor

Excerpts from a Newsletter

Do You Have A Cancer-Prone Personality?

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You’ve most likely heard of the Type A personality.

The Type A person is very competitive, strives for achievement, lacks patience, is easily provoked and displays anger openly. The theory has faded from favor, but at one time “experts” believed people with Type A personalities were at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

(continued from March 6,, 2015)

 PART II

Positive results from medical studies

Studies have been carried out to find if the experience of these and other doctors has any foundation. In some of the studies, the Type C trait (or collection of traits) has been found to be a feature.

For instance, in 1991 Australian researchers analyzed 600 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer to find out if personality was associated with the disease. The patients were compared to matched controls – very similar people who did not have cancer.

The researchers found that cancer patients were significantly more likely to show “the elements of denial and repression of anger and of other negative emotions…the external appearance of ‘nice’ or ‘good’ person, a suppression of reactions which may offend others, and the avoidance of conflict.”

One of the problems when looking at personality factors with respect to cancer is that in the Australian study, as well as in the experience of doctors who treat cancer, the disease has already been diagnosed.

Can we be sure that people who have been given such devastating news are going to display the same personality traits as they did before they met the doctor and received the diagnosis?

One way to find out is by taking psychological profiles of people before they go on to succumb to cancer.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University began a long term prospective study, starting in 1946, to see if psychological factors could predict future disease states. They followed 1,130 medical students over 18 years. The results came as a surprise to them.

“Our results appear to agree with findings that cancer patients ‘tend to deny and repress conflictual impulses and emotions to a higher degree than do other people.'”

Negative results from medical studies

Whilst many older studies endorse the idea of a cancer personality, most newer studies — using more advanced methodology — do not.

A review of studies in 2010 concluded that they “do not give much support to personality as a causative factor for cancer.”

Another review in 2014 included over 42,000 people and more than 2,000 suffering from six types of cancer amongst them. They looked at five personality traits – extraversion (sociable, outgoing personality), neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience.

They concluded that “none of the personality traits were associated with the incidence of all cancers or any of the six site-specific cancers.”

Another major long-term study was published in 2010. Nearly 60,000 people were followed for 30 years. The scientists looked at the personality traits of extraversion and neuroticism as well as many other risk factors. They concluded that these personality characteristics “were not significantly associated with risk of cancers.”

Is there a cancer personality or is it chronic stress?

Gabor Maté, a Canadian doctor, has studied the Type C personality extensively. He believes that the features of this personality make people of this type more vulnerable to stress.

“It is stress – not personality per se – that undermines a body’s physiological balance and immune defenses, predisposing to disease or reducing the resistance to it.

“Physiological stress, then, is the link between personality traits and disease.”

Dr. Temoshok disagrees.

“Stress per se is not a critical factor in illness – it’s the strength or weakness of one’s coping mechanism.”

Most oncologists are uncomfortable with the idea of a cancer personality because they believe patients will think they brought on the disease themselves. They say the research is inconclusive in any case.

Those that believe in the concept point out that it is just one of the many factors that have a role to play in the development of cancer.

I fall into this camp myself. I absolutely believe stress plays a role in cancer, and I also believe that personality traits likely play a role, too, for some people. After all, holding in anger all the time, or constantly trying to please others, is very stressful.

But as causes of cancer, I believe these emotional factors are overwhelmed by over-consumption of sugar and other carbs, nutrient-poor diets, poor exercise habits, poor sleep habits, exposure to toxins, and other factors that regular readers of this newsletter will be familiar with.

Just as people may change their diet, cut out smoking or reduce their environmental exposure to toxins in order to lower their cancer risk, so they should not shy away from looking at aspects of their personality that may damage their health. Both the sick and the healthy should look for ways to reduce these risk factors. Getting stress out of your life is essential not only to avoiding cancer, but to happiness in general.

Even if there isn’t a cancer personality as such, work with a health professional – if that’s what it takes — to learn to feel comfortable about taking time out for yourself, express yourself emotionally, be more assertive, and build greater self-esteem. These are valuable qualities for anyone, whatever their link to health may be.

Another valuable way to prevent cancer is to eat healthy food. See below if you missed the article in the last issue on a food that’s especially powerful. It’s often overlooked.

End of PART II

To be continued PART III