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  • Home » Does positive mental attitude really help?

    Does positive mental attitude really help?

    Q. Since being diagnosed with colon cancer, I am often quite depressed. Some of my friends say I would improve my changes of beating the cancer if I had a "better" mental attitude. What do you think?

    A. People with cancer and their families and friends may feel guilty about their emotional responses to the illness. They may feel pressure to keep a “good attitude” at all times, which is unrealistic. This feeling of pressure can come from within themselves, from other people, or both. Sadness, depression, guilt, fear, and anxiety are all normal parts of grieving and learning to cope with cancer. Trying to ignore these feelings or not talking with others about them can make the person with cancer feel lonely. It can also make the emotional pain worse. And some people feel guilty or blame themselves when they can’t “stay positive,” which only adds to their emotional burden.

    Treatment that deals with our emotions and relationships (sometimes called psychosocial interventions) can help people with cancer feel more upbeat and have a better quality of life. But there’s no good evidence to support the idea that these interventions can reduce the risk of cancer, keep cancer from coming back, or help the person with cancer live longer.

    Based on what we know now about how cancer starts and grows, there’s no reason to believe that emotions can cause cancer or help it grow.

    Para solicitar información en español, llame al 1-800-227-2345. Un especialista en información sobre el cáncer le asistirá en español

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