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Positive mental attitude does not affect cancer survival

There is little evidence to support the belief that a person's mental attitude affects his or her chances of surviving cancer, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Researchers reviewed 26 studies on the effect of psychological coping styles (including fighting spirit, helplessness/hopelessness, denial, and avoidance) and survival from or recurrence of cancer.

They found little convincing evidence that coping styles play an important part in survival from or recurrence of cancer. Good evidence is also lacking to support the view that "acceptance," "fatalism," or "denial" have an important influence on outcome.

Although the relation is biologically plausible, there is at present little scientific basis for the popular belief that psychological coping styles have an important influence on overall or event-free survival in patients with cancer, say the authors.

People with cancer should not feel pressurised into adopting particular coping styles to improve survival or reduce the risk of recurrence, they conclude.


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
44-207-383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
7-Nov-2002


Page: 1

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