Alternative Cancer Treatment Essay

1368 words - 5 pages

Alternative Cancer Treatment


Today, many psychologists feel that psychological therapy can give cancer patients’ a longer life. The first to take this stance was Psychiatrist David Spiegel M.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine, in a 1989 study Spiegel gathered patients once a week to discuss there feelings about the cancer and here they received support from other cancer sufferers. “When Spiegel followed up a decade later, he discovered that patients who had participated in the sessions had survived an average of 18 months longer than those in the control group” (Clay,2000). It is felt that if you can tap into a patients mind and help them deal with the cancer by dealing in the mental aspect of it that it will be beneficial to that patient in the long run. Cancer takes a large toll on your body as well as your mind, so if the physical aspect is challenging, the psychological aspect something that a patient should try to excel at like mind over body. Although many cancer patients use this treatment it is not absolutely sure it will lengthen the life span. But the story of Kip Little will beg to differ. Kip, was a cancer patient who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986 and was supposed to be dead a decade ago. After, Kip went through her mastectomy; she met a psychologist at the Ontario Cancer Institute and began working with him and other cancer patients . They patients would gather there to talk about their feelings, practice ways of relaxing and find ways to cope with their pain and any other problems. Then in 1990, cancer returned to Kip, and she was given only a short time to live. Instead of physical treatment, Kip used the relaxing techniques and similar exercises for the mind. Using all these techniques Kip beat cancer and is no longer a patient anymore. “Like Little, most people don’t automatically associate psychology with cancer treatment” (Clay,2000). Little’s doctor who has performed these studies is Alastair J. Cunningham Ph. D. a senior scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute. The studies were that Cunningham, had experts predict patients life span’s and then he implemented his therapy. He found out that people who worked hard at change psychologically lived three times longer than predicted. Only two patients died on schedule, presumably the least active. “It makes sense to me that the people who live longer are those who make substantial psychological changes, says Cunningham” (Clay,2000). Despite these studies there is still relatively little information on psychological treatment of cancer. However, many people see this as a breakthrough in helping to deal with a big medical problem like cancer.
Many psychologists feel that psychological treatment is also a good way to teach patients how to endure their physical treatments. Many of these treatments present physical problems, but the treatments are almost more taxing on the mind. “Research clearly shows that unrelieved pain can slow recovery, create...

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