Optimism 'no bearing on cancer'

The power of the mind has been overestimated when it comes to fighting cancer, US scientists say.

They said they found that a patient's positive or negative emotional state had no direct bearing on cancer survival or disease progression.

The University of Pennsylvania team followed more than 1,000 patients with head and neck cancer.

But experts said the Cancer journal study should not deter people from adopting a "fighting spirit". Indeed, a positive outlook can help patients cope with gruelling cancer therapies and resume a "normal" life, a spokeswoman for Macmillan Cancer Support said. Seeking emotional support may be beneficial to cancer patients, said the researchers.

Lead author Dr James Coyne said: "If cancer patients want psychotherapy or to be in a support group, they should be given the opportunity. There can be lots of emotional and social benefits.
"But they should not seek such experiences solely on the expectation that they are extending their lives.

"The hope that we can fight cancer by influencing emotional states appears to have been misplaced."

Source - BBC

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