Crazy Cancer Cures: The Power of Positive Thinking

You guys! It’s time again for another in my series on Crazy Cancer Cures, where we discuss the many dumb ideas I’ve heard about alternative ways to cure my cancer. Today we’re going to talk about the power of positive thinking. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “Just stay positive, you can beat this!” Uh, no, I can’t. Metastatic breast cancer has no cure. Unless one is discovered, and quickly, I’ll die of my disease. I will not beat it. And no amount of positive thinking about it will change the biology of my tumor. 

Here’s where people get confused: there can be lifestyle benefits to having a positive attitude. Like, if you’re positive, you tend to have less depression, and that’s a positive thing for your lifestyle. Will that mean your cancer won’t kill you? No. It just means you’ll be less depressed while you wait for death.

In addition, there is actually research showing that all the “keep fighting” battle metaphors have a negative impact of the emotional state of cancer patients. So actually, telling people to stay strong and positive can make things worse.

Lots of things make cancer treatment less shitty. Exercise, anti-nausea medications, a healthy diet, pain medications, a hug from a friend. These are all awesome things. But none of these things CURE cancer. Supportive care isn’t a cure. It just makes cancer less shitty–which is a good thing, but not a cure.