It is NOT Your Attitude

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

AUGUST 01, 2017

Major thanks to Patricia for sending me this link to an article from The Washington Post.. Reacting to Senator McCain's recent diagnosis, the article reinforces the reality that warriors don't beat cancer; treatments that work beat cancer. In no way is this meant to be a disparaging comment towards Senator McCain or anyone else's attitude or style, but this gives me a welcome chance to get back on one of my favorite soap boxes.

As a reminder: Successful cancer care depends on the right treatment and drugs that are effective for a particular individual and situation.

Here is a partial list of things that do not influence cancer cells:

  1. Attitude: You can be as positive or negative as you want. The quality of your days certainly is impacted, but the cancer could not care less.
  2. A fighting spirit or being a warrior. See #1.
  3. Diet. Of course there are healthy diets and less healthy diets, but there is no food on earth that, in and of itself, has proven anti-cancer benefits. This includes broccoli, blue berries, all organic foods, etc.
  4. Food that you may be told to avoid. Sugar and caffeine and dairy do not act as fertilizer to cancer cells. What you read is based on a very superficial and not so smart understanding of the science. Ask your doctor.
  5. Stress. Again, feeling totally stressed out does not make for happy days, but the cancer cells shrug it off.
  6. Vitamins and supplements. Related to the comments about diet, there are many misleading and just plain inaccurate advertisements widely available. No one has been cured of cancer by shark cartilage or special teas. Ask your doctor.
  7. Deep cleansing treatments of any kind and other procedures that may be advertised by people or companies that are eager to separate you from your dollars.

Here is what you can do that may help:

  1. Follow your doctor's directions and take the recommended treatments as prescribed.
  2. Try to get mild to moderate exercise.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Alcohol in moderation.
  5. And for the quality of your life: the most important factor is social support, positive relationships, and cancer buddies.

And here is the beginning of the article and a link to read more:

It doesn’t take a warrior to beat cancer. It takes a treatment that works.

By Steven Petrow

“Am I strong enough to beat this cancer?”

I wonder if Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked himself this question when he was diagnosed recently with a deadlyglioblastoma brain tumor.

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 1984, that question was certainly at the top of my own list. Just 26 at the time, I was pretty much untested: My greatest challenges so far had been taking the SATs and coming out as a gay man.

I certainly was no John McCain, who has survived five years of torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, three bouts with melanoma (one of the deadliest of cancers) and three decades in the Senate. If anyone has the strength to prevail over cancer, it’s McCain. But is strength, or toughness — or any personality trait — really what it takes?

Read Steven Petrow's Washington Post article.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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