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Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

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ForumMember
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Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hello Fiona - it's amazing what people think will help...ie dying of the light etc! No dying of the light for you, you'll be far too busy going through treatment and there IS light at the end of the tunnel, and thousands of women who have lit the torch and led the way. Certainly is grey here - and wet, and cold!! Middle of winter, but next month I'll be coming home (to Poole) for six whole weeks and am SO excited to see all my family and friends. Good luck for your MRI scan tomorrow, and please do let us know the result - everything crossed for you that it will be clear. It's hard to be on your own, but worse to be with someone who is really bringing you down or who just goes to pieces over the whole thing. This site is wonderful, and will see you through the next few months, as it has for so many of us. Please keep posting and let us know what operation you finally opt for. Thinking of you, and hoping you are managing to sleep a bit better. Sarah xx

rosemarywine
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Thanks Sarah, I've just had an email from an ex which said "do not go gentle into that good night .... rage, rage against the dying of the light" - tactful eh? But a txt from my uncle Pete all the way from Melbourne sending his love. (That's just brought a tear to my eye.) I was very positive yesterday (perhaps that was the wine in the evening) but am getting MRI results tomorrow and am so scared that it'll show up worse than we think at the moment. I just want both breasts off now, this minute! Like you say it's the waiting and the shock that's worst. I hate being on my own, this site is a Godsend. Hey I bet it's not grey skies in Canberra is it? Fiona x

ForumMember
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Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

...Rosemarywine - hello from Sarah in Canberra! (A very optimistic one!!). Have just been reading your other thread, and am so very, very sorry that you are having a totally horrible time at the moment. I don't think a glass of wine will do much harm, well I still enjoy mine! I was diagnosed last November, and have since had surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. Now I'm moving forward and getting on with my life. We all look at statistics sometimes, but in the end all that matters is you, and your life, and your daughter. Just now I'm sure it's as much as you can do to get through each hour, and each day. But I can assure you that you will, and that although it is hard, sometimes when treatment has started it is somewhat better than the dreadful state of shock that you are in now, especially with your circumstances. Thinking of you - we are all here for you, and there is usually someone around on this site if you want to chat. Biggest of hugs - all the way from Australia! Sarah x (another one!)

SarahAL
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I think they can be more precise after the operation when they know a bit more, but your BC nurse may have been thinking of 5 year survival. Either way, the chances for you are very good.

If wine was problem I wouldn't be here 4 year later! If I get very wound up about cancer (or anything) I have a glass in the evening to help me sleep, I don't think it makes much difference in moderation.

rosemarywine
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

maybe people are just more optimistic in Oldham than in Canberra? Maybe it's the rain up here keeping us all so positive. Or maybe statistics are just "think of a number and do what you want with it?"

rosemarywine
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

thanks sarah, makes me feel so much better, it's like feeling guilty about every unkind thought/word you've ever had about anyone and then you think maybe that gave me cancer? but then knowing that some of the kindest, loveliest people you have ever met have had cancer - some died, some still living - it's keeping me awake nights - the sleeping tablets the dr gave me aren't working and i don't want to drink in case that makes the cancer worse, but then i just want to sleep so i think can ia glass of wine harm? then i think, but what if that's the tipping point that sens me into the 25%?
Anyway last week in Oldham the breast surgeon told me I had a 75 to 80% chance of surviving 10 years and then ten minutes later the BC nurse said survival rates were in the high eighties!

SarahAL
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

just bringing this up to the top for rosemarywine

snowwhite
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Oh joy - collective sigh of relief, too right, seabird (Sarah, but I love seabird, joyous name - I am seeing seagulls, albatrosses, the freedom of the skies...) - I'll tell you what makes me happy, it is just hearing all this good sound sense - I feel I have been fighting people's denial since dx and hearing this, it is liberating, it is therapy, it is balm, it is an act of kindness - my heart is singing now, I haven't felt so good in ages. Sweet dreams seabird, Jane, Dahlia, all.

longden
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

well said Jane and Snowwhite.....wow .....great thread...Debrax

karen
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

So very well said snowwhite and JaneRA

karenx

Dahlia
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

snowwhite, JaneRA

Seconded!

snowwhite
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Jane - hooray hooray hooray - I too want to talk sanely and truthfully about death and dying and cancer, and the treatments, too. Truthfully. Not positively. Not negatively. Truthfully. The so-called 'positive' outlook my doctors gave me when I was being diagnosed wasn't truth. It was a well-intentioned but in effect harmful form of deception and self-deception and I suspect them of pusillanimously protecting themselves from my distress rather than protecting me from the pain of reality. That's okay, they're only human and I can be pusillanimous too. But I do believe that sort of thing is going on all the time, as you say, Jane, so many women on here beat themselves up about their fear, their anger, their sorrow. But for God's sake if what we are going through is not frightening, lonely, sad and painful, then what on earth is? If this doesn't hurt us what could? So I passionately support all efforts to inject sanity and truth, plain unadorned truth, into what we, anyone, doctors, nurses, say about our predicament.

JaneRA
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I am really struck by how much all of us internalise the pressure to be positive and think positive. On thread after thread on these forums women write about feeling scared, afraid, angry, tired, ill etc and then apologise for doing so or make throw a way remarks about: I know I should be positive...but..."

A while back I read an excellent research article called "Thinking differently about thinking positive: a discursive approach to cancer patients' talk" in which the authors, Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger, concluded that 'thinking positive' isn't an accurate description of how people really feel but a vague conversational idiom influenced by socially constructed moral presciptions.

I long for the day when we can talk in a much more ordinary way about the rollercoaster of emotions which accompanies a cancer diagnosis and living with cancer and where we don't feel the necessity to either exagerrate our 'positivity' or apologise for our 'misery and woe.'

The article appeared in Social Science and Medicine 2000 and I downloaded it, but can't find the link now.

Thought this might interst some of you...Sarah?

Lyn...strong brave cancer patients press my buttons too.

best wishes

Jane

lyndu
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I'm sorry you're having a tough time just now, Kate - I'm sure anyone on the forum would echo me when they say don't beat yourself up, and absolutely don't compare yourself with the celebs!

They have advantages (and pressures) that most of us don't have - someone peeling grapes for them 24 hours if that's what they feel like on a specific day. They don't have to be the mainstay to manage kids and houses and shopping and the laundry and finding something that fits your changed body... They also have the publicity machine feeding possibly not entirely accurate stories to the papers, and the pressures of their image being their income, so they can't afford that image to be what they think the public can't cope with. A 17 hour day? Doing what? How often? How many days did she take to recover from it?

A long time ago I read the biog of the TV fitness woman (Diana Moran?) who couldn't let anyone know she had breast cancer because that would have been the end of her career - I found that desperately sad.

You can tell that public expectations about "strong, brave cancer patients" presses one of my buttons!
Take care,
Lyn

ForumMember
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Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

So glad I started this thread as all the replies make great reading. Thanks especially to you Jane for yet another fantastic posting - really interesting to read the background to all this. Sorry you have been so unwell Kate, yes I am sure we all empathise with you a thousand fold! Keep the responses coming - it sounds as though a collective sigh of relief has been let out that we can all do this cancer thing our own way and we can ease off (with evidence) the pressures on us to be permanently positive! Sarahx

maryfrod
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I don't for one minute think that positive thinking will cure my cancer.I have cancer and there is nothing I can do about it other than rely on those who treat me to " know best what is right".I have always been a positive outgoing type anyway,and although these last months have stretched me to the limit at times and there have been times I have literally locked out the world in self pity mode I feel that I was allowed to do that as this disease has taken over my body and I needed to be negative to take it all in and "rebel".
My positivity is returning and I will live my life with my family by my side.None of us know when we will meet our maker we get one chance and as someone said to me on another thread its the roll of the dice.
We all deserve to have a quality of life and I intend to do so for as long as I can, not in misery and woe is me I have cancer,but with happiness,I owe that to myself and my loved ones.

Mary
xxxx

katiej
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi Everyone
This web site has kept my sanity since i was diagnosed last Sept with stage 3 BC when i have not been able to sleep even though i have not posted for a little while, reading is so theraputic. I do agree with the findings about thinking positive i am always being told that i will get better because "you are such a strong and positive person" that is such a pressure and i do beat myself up when i have a bad day. I came out of hospital again yesterday been there since saturday with neutapenia even though i am not supposed to have it and staff including oncologist was gob smacked as finished chemo in April and radio 3 weeks ago, am now just on Herceptin and have now had third.I feel that i should be better than i am and my daughter brought in Hello magazine, there was an article on the presenter Trish who was supposed to have worked a 17 hour day after just finishing chemo all i have done since last November is go in and out of hospital with infections with being neutrapenic so after that article i think i am even more of a waste of space.So there is a lot of pressure and no one wants to get better more than me but my body is telling me otherwise and by reading all the well balanced and informative comments it really really helps. We are all on a journey and we do not know where it will end.When i have a good day i want to rule the world. I had my first holiday break for three days, since last august, on the last bank holiday in Norfolk. I walked and drank champagne had beautiful food and kept saying to my partner that i was "estatic" but it was really lovely then within two days of coming home feeling really under the weather, two days later back in hospital on intravenus antibiotics so now feeling quite down. Anyone empathise with me?
Thanks for all discussions and banter it is a great site.
Much love
Kate

JaneRA
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I think Bernie Siegal has a lot to answer for!

Jane

lyndu
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I was pointed to a recent article in the New York Times called "When thumbs up is no comfort" on the pressure on public figures to show a fighting stance all the time (I'm not sure if the URL is allowed but it's at http://tinyurl.com/44whpz ) - and the pressure this puts on the patient to be "strong" - equating to "don't trouble me by needing help".

I loathed the concept on my first time round in 1991, when I was bombarded with the full Bernie Siegel stuff, and I haven't changed my mind.

Lyn

JaneRA
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Yes it is good to see some research on the positive thinking issue. There have been a flurry of reports recently.

The journal Cancer reported on a study from the University of Pennyslyvania of 1000 patients with neck and had cancer. The lead psychologist of that report said: " We anticipated finding that emotional well being would predict the outcome of cancer. We exhaustively looked for it, and we concluded there is no effect for emotional well-being on cancer patients....I think cancer survival is basically biological. Cancer patients shouldn't blame themselves..too often we think if cancer were beatable, you should beat it. You can't control your cancer."

Trish asks where these ideas about 'thinking positive' come from. Apparently one of the first western books on positive thinking was written by a Protestant preacher Norman Vincent Peale in 1952 called "The Power of Positive Thinking' Since then, in the west I there's been a huge development of a culture of superfical self help books. I've said before that the TV quiz show Deal, No Deal, is a kind of metaphor for the depths to which 'positiveity' has become a cultrual essential in the west.

Then there's the whole thing about cancer. As Susan Sontag wrote 30 plus years ago, any disaese which is only partly understoodd and kills is 'awash with significance' We have moved out of the era where cancer was only spoken of in hushed coded tones, but we've replaced it with a culture which I think can be equally oppressive...one where approval is given to brave battling jolly survivors, (and as far as breast cancer is concerned those jolly survivors publicly look youthful, pretty and very feminine) and those who dare to express other reactions to the disease...anger, grief, despair are pitied and pilloried and marginalised.

I want to find a way of living with and talking about cancer which is real, truthful and diverse. At an individual level yes we all respond differently (and I think the differences in our response can be much bigger than the alleged commonalities which we so often claim), and yes responses which include sadness and anger and desperation can be debilitaing and frightening, particularly for other people who haven't got cancer.

Another reason...we simply cannot talk about death in an odinary way in many countries in the west these days. No cancer does not any longer neccessarily=death, but it is still associated with death and dying...unpleasantly...and we don't have a cultural langage for dealing with that other than contsructing ideal types of contemproary dying heros who are brave and smiling to the end.

At an indiviudal level I think we each develop our own strategies for living as well as we can wit whatever the realities of the disease, its tretaments and its futures, holds for us. I know I can be happier and more optimistic when I'm feeling well as I am today...but when I'm not well...or very tried (as I have been for much of the last year on treatment) its much harder not to just curl up in bed and wish it all over.

Now that research is showing that 'thinking postive' doesn't affect outcome, I still think we have a way to go to stop 'thinking positive' being the only way for managing the process.

Jane

ForumMember
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Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi Pineapple - Turkey sounds good. Never been there so let me know what you think as it does look beautiful country.

So glad you hair is growing. Mine is growing slowly but thick. I had a lot of hair before but was quite fine. I had it coloured the other week because we were going away and I didn't want to take wig off and be grey and then brown so I went to hairdressers. They put what was supposed to be brown on it and it turned out gingery blonde so they tried again and it came out a light brown, even though the colour they put on was dark brown.

A Happy Birthday for the 14th - I had mine 3 years ago. Have a wonderful time - I'm sure you will.

I deal with my BC by just getting on with life as most of us do - we have to. I am due back at work in July and am looking forward to being with the girls again but not the work and the doctor I work for ! We have a laugh and I can put BC to the back of my mind. Still have a good weep now and again though

xxx

pineapple
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi Lizzie, i am good thanks - off to Turkey this weekend for 2 weeks, meeting with friend (of 33 years) and her man. We are celebrating our 50th birthdays together (same day and year!) so there will be afew G&T'S on the 14th. lol
Hair is growing long but still not thick enough to go scarfless - thanks for asking.

There are many other physical happenings due to our thinking apart from blushing but i suppose thats the one we have all experienced!
panick attacks - look at all the syptoms you can get with this
migraines
shock
stress
aloplecia
etc

ForumMember
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi Pineapple - you've not posted for a while. How are you? and the hair? xx

Agree with you that how we think does have an effect and make us feel better in ourselves but also that if the cancer is there whatever we think it will do whatever.

Love to you

Liz xx

pineapple
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I find this subject really interesting.
While in my heart i believe cancer will grow and do what ever it wants regardless. BUT, how we think CAN have physical effects on our body.
If we get embarrased (they are just thoughts dont forget) it has a physical effect and we blush.
Just a thought. 🙂

PinkyAnn
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I find this research kinda reassuring. Thank goodness I don't have to 'stay positive' (arghhh! How I hate that phrase) but can be happy or sad, depending on how I feel that day. Like many of you, I thank my lucky stars that I'm here and most of the time my glass is better than half full but I do need to mourn who I was and the body I had.

alaskaval
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I think I'm going to carry on with the positive attitude approach to life... just because sometimes it feels like attitude is the only thing I do have the vaguest control over!!! and it has the knock on effect that it makes me easier to live with although my oh has mentioned reduced patience too so like Debs I think he's lucky ...ha

By this positive attitude I don't mean I believe it will have any control over whats going on in my body,( ie as a treatment,) but it sure makes living easier and more fun.... and it reduces the meaningful, grave face approach attitutude to me that drives me bonkers, I know it's unreasonable but from strangers I'd often prefer indifference or rudeness...? {I also don't mean that I'm pollyanna the glad girl... just I generally try and focus on the good bits...and I have 2 little ones so being miserable would only make it harder for them)

I think I'm going to approach the article with the attitude of 'thank god I now really needn't feel guilty for getting it, and a positve approach is just for fun not loaded in anyway'. I have a lovely surgeon who was reading round cancer and found the work of a guy who was suggesting that previous unhappy events or how you handle them could influence the development of cancer...my first thought was guilt ...what did I do wrong...{which was NOT her intent] took a bit of rationalising to get that one out of my head and this article helps.

As for statistics I try and avoid them as they are only that.. and not definate facts in relation to you personally... when looking at stats in my oncs office he gave me a little sheet with the statistics related to each part of the treatment he rec (to ensure I got the justification I think) I'd've been quite ready to take his word for it honest..
anyway he said he'd give me the 2% that drop off the planet for other reasons and add them onto my score... thank you fine by me...
best news on statistics was my OH who said they'll all be out of date by now as things change so fast don't get depressed.

Life is good and I am lucky even if bits of it are ****

don't know if these ramblings make sense ?love and hugs to you all
Valx

EDIT
Hey snowwhite beautifully put :0)

snowwhite
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Having a positive attitude is what it is - a positive attitude. It's a bit like being happy. Being happy is happy. Being sad is sad. Neither is going to make the cancer come or go. Otherwise all pessimists would have cancer and no optimists would. The difference between the positive people and the negative people is that positive people are positive and negative ones are negative. Too obvious? Clarity is needed: there is nothing negative about recognising difficult painful truths and nothing positive about denying them. It is negative to deny pleasant truths and positive to acknowledge them.

Important, in the end, to know what the truth is and decide to be happy whatever.

debsincornwall
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi to all
I by nature am a positive person always a glass half full. I have just had a very tough 4 months and will admit to thinking a couple of times 'this is it I dont think I will be here in the morning" Thank goodness I am still here still feeling positive and very grateful for every day. I think it would be more difficult for my family if I was negative. My hubby says I have less patience than I used to have so I think if I was a misery as well he would he might have strangled me!

Love Debsxxx

ElaineD
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Emily has said what I was going to add. By nature I am a positive person-even now when my outlook is pretty poor, with various mets 12 years after the original diagnosis.Being positive may not significantly affect the final outcome, but it does make life more bearable.

Despite my very poor prognosis, my life still has a great deal of pleasure and fun in it too. By thinking positively I feel that I'm doing my bit to help the drugs-if that's nonsense, then so be it.

ForumMember
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

On the day I was DX I asked my BCN if I would have to be positive to beat it and she said no its complete tosh, you can be in a foul mood every day if you want and you'll still beat it. I wasn't in a foul mood every day but at least she took the pressure off.

AJxxx

1966ruby
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

What concerns me is that the sample were all ladies with LOCALISED cancer, and that implies that it had not spread at the time the study started, but 25% of them had DIED within 8 years! Not even just a re-occurence, but had DIED.
Was that without treatment? Just with a positive outlook??

Blimey!

Lisa (Scared)

cally2108
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi , talk about up and down in a heartbeat .
I also feel under pressure to feel positive as maybe in some way feeling negative will have some physical impact on me . I hate reading stats about breast cancer as they never give you enough information and I'm almost too scared to read them. I also happened to read the thread on telling the children which really had me in tears .... think I may need to go and play with my 2.5 year old and cheer myself up !

ForumMember
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Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

This is already borne out by the comments in the article "The Honest Truth" in Sunday's Scottish Post. The "expert" said he knows of those full of gloom and doom who are alive years later and those with a positive attitude who die in six months. A positive attitude cannot cure cancer. As my surgeon said it will do what it will do. But being positive will probably help with treatments. I will let you know after I have finished chemo. I havent started yet!

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi, feel the same as you Cally,a quarter were dead after eight years the words keep appearing in my head, but then i thought well that means three quarters were still alive..All this positive stuff makes me feel uneasy and presured.Today I feel optomistic about the future but i could wake tomorrow and feel totaly different who knows.

love mel

cally2108
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi , I'm afraid this article has made me a bit depressed as I didnt even think about the subject , rather than the fact that a quarter were dead sfter 8 years. How can you remain positive when stats like that are printed........

Cally x

EmilyJane
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Author removed from thread.. this is the same thread and same arguments as other threads on postiive/negative choices.
I am not going to be part of this again.

cherub
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I'm related to an oncology professor and he told me all this when I was going through my treatment last year (he also just happened to be in charge of a clinic in Melbourne for years, funnily enough!). However, he did say that a positive attitude helps your well being when you are trying to get through the treatment as it helps you to manage your symptoms and side effects better.

Jennywren
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I am with Karen on this one. Some of the most positive women I have known are dead from breast cancer.

While I am positive most of the time, a good dose of misery is needed at times in order to keep going. I find a continual positive attitude to be a bad thing as I feel it amounts to denial and a refusal to face the facts. Surely a balance of emotion is required as in all other areas of life?

Jenny

karen
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

I'm glad this research has stated what I've always believed......my friend was the most positive person I have ever known during her battle with BC..but still lost her life to it.
I personally find it very difficult to ''be positiive''...and always have since being dx in jan 04.

Trish.....your post says exactly how I feel.

karen x

ForumMember
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Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Sarah

Glad to read the comments above. I have always said that whatever attitude you have if you have cancer it's not going to halt it. How can it?

My niece said about her friend who had breast cancer that she has a positive attitude and she believes that will help against it coming back but I said it doesn't matter how positive a person is if the cancer is growing an attitude won't help. She looked at me in awe.

My attitude is to get on with life and have a good weep why you want which always helps.

Liz xx

ForumMember
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Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Sarah,
this is a welcome breath of fresh air to the debate. I'm pleased to see some research which is beginning to
de -bunk this myth which in turn may lessen the guilt trip placed on those of us who find 'staying positive' onerous and somewhat meaningless. Having a positive attitude may help cope with treatments and the psychological impact of being diagnosed with cancer but how attitude can affect or alter rapidly dividing cancer cells has never made sense to me. I'm also intrigued as to where the concept 'positive thinking' originated. It seems to me that it is more prevalent when discussing cancer and less so when discussing other life threatening diseases. You don't hear about positive thinking having any influence on heart disease or motor neurone disease. Life style factors are highlighted as playing a more important role and I'm sure that when the powers to be find out more about cancer life style facors will be seen to play a more influential role.
just a thought from another early morning chemo messed up brain.
Trish

naunamh
Member

Re: Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi Sarah
Thank you for your posting it confirms what I have worked through with myself, having been told to think positive so often. My thinking cannot change my cancer.
But are we just physical? Can soul and spirit help in the fight against this?

Margaret

ForumMember
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Cancer can't be beaten by positive thinking

Hi Everyone. Really interesting article in the Canberra Times today. Worth quoting "The popular belief that a postiive attitude can help fight cancer has been debunked by a group of Australian specialists who have proved a fighting spirit does not increase a patient's survival chances. The Melbourne researchers say they realise their findings, presented at a cancer conference in Chicago, might not impress the majority of patients who believe their outlook can help their diagnosis, but they say it could be good news too.

"People often really beat themselves up and blame their attitude if their cancer relapses. We've shown absolutely that you're not at fault. You cannot influence your cancer with positive or negative thinking, depression, a fighting spirit or any other factor".

The study involved 708 women who had been newly diagnosed with localised breast cancer and tracked them over eight years to see whether their cancer relapsed. A quarter died over the period. Level of depression, anxiety and other factors like fatalist outlook, avoidance, anger and feelings of hopelessness were also assessed.

"Essentially, the bottom line is we didn't find any correlation at all between these issues and whether their cancer came back. This goes against what the vast majority of patients believe"

and a qote from the chief of the Aust Cancer council "a positive attitude is great and it clearly helps quality of life when you're going through treatment, but it makes an undetectable difference to disease".

Sorry for such a long posting, but for all of you who are fed up with being told to be positive (or feel guilty if you don't feel positive), this just confirms that it's OK to get through the days however you can and however you want! Good luck everyone. Sarah xx