Psychology of cancer

Woody Allen nails all scientific studies in very few words:
“I never get angry! I grow a tumor instead.”

Is there such a thing as psychology of cancer? Those who aren’t focused on the singular direction on how to eradicate the cancerous cells, but rather trying to decipher what makes one’s cells turning cancerous in the first place, were digging deep to find some answers. Deep into psyche. Deep into emotions. In search of the root cause.

It will never be a simple answer pointing to a singular culprit. But if we have few brought into light, at least our awareness will expand, bringing a shift in the way we look at cancer. Not on a treatment basis only (that’s not the subject of the article) but in terms of how, and if, we can prevent cancer.

Few lines on the conclusion, not to infringe your reading, but rather to increase your curiosity:
“Feelings you can’t express become an internal obstacle. They use up resources we don’t completely understand. Expressing and accepting them stops using these resources to keep them out of awareness. How that translates in how the body fights illness is still a mystery, but I’ve come to believe it does, and we are beginning to understand the mechanisms. “David Spiegel, Chair of Psychiatry at Stanford University

First major study happened in the eighties and involved three group studies:

  • Skin cancer patients (malignant melanoma)
  • Heart condition patients
  • Random group with no medical illnesses

What was the experiment about?

Each subject was connected to a dermograph recording body’s electrical reactions in the skin while subjects were looking at slides displaying unsettling, insulting, depressive, unpleasant statements i.e “You’re ugly”, “You’re good for nothing”, “You have only yourself to blame” etc.
Each subject was asked to state how calm or disturbed they felt on each statement.

The PHYSIOLOGICAL responses recorded by the device were identical.
What was different is how people expressed it on paper.

People suffering with cancer denied being upset or anxious, minimized their discomfort. Their coping mechanism was repression and denial.

People suffering with heart issues were the least inhibited stating their feelings. They were angry, felt offended and insulted.

The third group were rather in the middle, neither repressed, nor over-reactive.

That’s how the idea of connecting cancer with personality was born, and type A, B and C personalities were considered.

Type A – aggressive, tensed, fast, in control type of personality – prone to heart disease
Type B – moderate, balanced, can feel and express without losing it
Type C – extremely patient, accepting, passive, cooperative, lacking assertiveness; master of suppressing anger and other negative emotions, avoiding conflict, displaying a strong, happy, reliable façade – prone to cancer

Researchers are cautious. They don’t state that personality is the CAUSE, rather that personality features INCREASE risks because of the stress it generates.

Repression or even entirely missing the awareness of anger one feels, an impaired capacity to communicate emotions, to reach out to people, to admit what hurts, the internal wounds, that will put a person into even more stress – inducing situations, when personal needs are ignored, when one will be exploited due to his/her gentleness. Whether or not conscious, these are physiological stress inducing situations.
Stress will trigger inflammation, the perfect ground for any cancerous tumors to grow and spread. Stress will slow down, put on hold digestive system, tissue repair, immune system. There’s a whole field approached by scientists called psychoneuroimmunology, describing the links between psychological factors and nervous and immune systems.

Wounds seem to come back from childhood. Cancer suffering people never felt fully welcomed in their childhood. To make themselves accepted, they decided to conform rather than express their own desires. Always nice, little saints, always ready to help others, abhorring conflict. Later in life, they over-invest in a single aspect, be it profession, marriage, children. If this is threatened or lost (never promoted, spouse will cheat, children grow up and leave the house), the childhood grief returns with vengeance. It’s way worse now: after so many years of pretense, conclusion is that suffering can’t be avoided, no matter how much effort one does. It’s a terrible feeling of disappointment and helplessness.

Some called it “Hit and sink” reaction. First hit happened in childhood – it was manageable, coping strategies were developed, namely repression and denial. When second hit strikes in the exact same spot, the whole construction falls into pieces.

Do you want to hear more of studies? Of mice and men. OK, rats now, an experiment taking place at University of Pennsylvania.
Rats were grafted with cancerous cells known to induce a fatal tumor in 50% of the cases.
Then were split into three groups.

First groups – left entirely alone, zero interventions.

Second group- given small electric shocks which they COULD ESCAPE pushing a lever – something can be done, no helplessness environment.

Third group – given small electric shocks, no lever, NO ESCAPE – rats were helpless.

Results were published in Science Journal and are worth considering. It’s not just the presence of cancerous cells but rather what else “life” throws at you and how one reacts to it. And the only cage we, humans, are in, is the one we build, consciously or unconsciously, admittingly or not.
First group – 46% of rats developed cancer
Second group – 37% of rats developed cancer
Third group – 77% of rats developed cancer

There’s so much more to say, studies to quote, details on how body reacts to stress and the disturbances it creates within the body, leaving it open for all sort of diseases.

But I want to briefly touch on how homeopathy views the cancer predisposition.
That means I have to mention miasms, which in laymen terms are the predispositions of an individual to certain inherited, acquired diseases. Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor and the father of homeopathy, dead in 1843, only spoke of 3 miasms: psoric, sycotic and syphilitic. After his death, homeopaths identified and added another two, namely tubercular and cancer miasm.

Cancer miasm is seen as a combination of the first three, all together:

  • the vulnerability of the psoric miasms with its feelings of fear and lack, preparing the terrain
  • the tumors – the excess growth – signified by the sycotic miasms
  • the destruction of the tissues happening deep underground, on a hidden level, and indeed for many years cancer is completely asymptomatic.

Below a short description on characteristics of people susceptible to inheritance of cancer miasm:

  • Suppressed emotions, multiple griefs, abuses or disappointments
  • Shaky sense of identity transforms them into a lonely type of persons
  • Tender heart, low self esteem
  • Very high ACE score (Adverse Childhood Events – there are plenty psychological studies on this subject)
  • History of unhappy childhood when needs were not met and a sense of self was not fostered
  • Sympathetic to others
  • Sensitive to hurt, reprimands and offence
  • Self had lost its own boundaries, people without roots, could be part of immigrant culture
  • Very sensitive which can lead to co-dependency and messy relationships
  • Desires perfection

In my view, the above homeopathic perspective is such a close match to studies’ conclusions in terms of a possible personality type with high risks of developing cancer that it can’t be downplayed. I do see these tendencies in so many people, including myself, and that comes as no surprise: cancer is the disease of the century, suppression of emotions the rule. Though on the rational level, it’s simple to see and agree that we need to be truthful, to ourselves and to others, not merely nice, the inner work isn’t always easy or straightforward. Homeopathic remedies are truly helpful working on emotions, encouraging people to open up, to express, to bring it out from the darkness of psyche, to admit the wounds, to welcome the shadow, to celebrate the self in its wholeness, instead of losing the boundaries and the sense of identity. Work done in the inner realms truly has the potential to set you free. Cancer free too. And if you want true stories, I can suggest Ian Gawler’s one.

If you would like to experiment how homeopathy can help you to open up, to handle your emotions in a healthier way, go to my website and Book a consultation: so many things and feelings will shift and that is a promise.

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