Optimism Worthless For Cancer Patients?

A excellent buddy and fellow “miracle” cancer survivor known as to my focus a fairly recent write-up from a group of Australian researchers who had been reporting on a clinical study of optimism. These fellows were purporting to study the role, if any, that optimism may possibly play in the recovery of cancer patients. I located it prominently displayed on the webpage of a national cancer patient support organization. It was almost as if this specific association was rejoicing in great news.

Considering that the Associated Press has noticed fit to share this gem of pseudo (junk) science with the globe, I decided I really should do no much less. Mark this a single properly, dear reader, as you are not most likely to see its like elsewhere for some time to come. It is presented here exactly as it appeared in the news release.


According to a current Linked Press story, a positive attitude does not increase chances of surviving cancer, and doctors who encourage patients to hold up hope perhaps burdening them.

Patients are burdened by trying to keep a positive outlook in the course of their hard circumstances, mentioned researchers from the Peter Mac Callum Cancer Center in Melbourne, Australia and five other health centers in an write-up published in the journal, Cancer.

Optimism produced no difference in the fate of most of the almost two hundred lung cancer patients that Australian followed more than five years. Only eight men and women were nonetheless living by the time the study ended in 2001. According to wellness specialists, this is the first scientifically valid appear at optimism and cancer.

The outcomes shocked some researchers who expected optimistic patients to reside longer.”

Now this is definitely worth some commentary, especially from 1 such as I who has personally beaten metastatic renal cell cancer with plural metastices to the lungs. Not only did my medical doctors not “burden” me with optimism, they seemed to in fact worry that I might somehow develop “false hope”. This term is, itself, an outrage, even though it is employed universally all through the halls of medicine. Hope is neither accurate nor false, it is just hope and a beautiful word it is

This story doesn’t say quite much for the Australian cancer program now does it? They had 192 out of 200 patients die and they blame it on optimism! As a youngster I can recall hearing the old saying to the effect that a poor excuse is greater than none. It may possibly be just as properly to note that had been a group of the most optimistic persons in the world to be stood up against a wall just before a firing squad, the optimism would be noticed to be of tiny worth when the bullets began flying. A much better question may be to ask how a patient in a medical system no far better than that could possibly locate anything to be optimistic about. Had I been a peer reviewer of this bit of pseudo-scientific pot boiling I think I would have asked the following queries.

1) How does one quantify optimism? Can it be distinguished from wishful thinking? Has a numerical scale been derived that permits the “researcher” to, for instance, distinguish in between a high worth #10 optimizer compared and a lowly #3 optimizer? Further, considering that optimism has been presented as an independent variable in the study, did it remain continuous all the way to the ventilator? If not, then how was the time variant figured into the evaluation of data? Possibly eight of the patients exhibited “durable optimism” although the others “failed optimism” to use the parlance of our clinical trials.

two) What, if any, qualifications did the researchers have that enabled them to either induce or evaluate optimism. If they were not medical doctors, had been they there searching over the shoulders of physicians? Were they present during consultations, infusions or through the extended hours in the waiting rooms? Had been they there when the mountains of paperwork were being filled out? If they were not involved in the above then they missed a wonderful chance to see what a failed medical method can do to any semblance of optimism. “Durable optimism” can be as hard to muster up as a cancer remission.

three) Had been these “researchers” present with the patients by way of the extended nights, black as death, when life seems elusive and hopes fail? If they weren’t then it is the height of arrogance to claim to know the situation of a patients optimism. It would be exciting to know if any of these professionals on optimism for cancer patients ever had the disease themselves.

four) Maybe the greatest question is just how these 200 patients contracted their optimism in the first location? For the study to have any worth, all 200 would had to have been optimistic throughout. Considering that optimism generally is not present at the diagnosis of cancer, then where did this optimism come from at the starting and how was it maintained? It seems to me that there would have to have been at least one creative genius involved whose accomplishments are not revealed in any detail. By this I refer to the individual in the study who managed to induce simultaneous optimism in 200 cancer patients and keep it all the way to death. Now here is indeed a wonderful discovery that should be shared with the world!! It seems to me that the clinicians are giving themselves a generous dose of undeserved credit in this matter. I appear to see an image of a white jacketed clinician slamming his clipboard down and arrogantly declaring, “They had been optimistic, by God, because I told them to be optimistic!”. Probably there had been physicians stretching the truth a bit along the way to impart this optimism, unwarranted as it were in these circumstances. If this is the case, then I suspect it was the medical doctors carrying out this false cheer major who had been fooled. Cancer patients who have been around a although normally get pretty excellent at reading the tea leaves no matter whether anyone recognizes it or not.

It is a reality that, unburdened by any of the above nagging questions, this small parcel of bovine scatology burst across the cancer scene like a meteor. Critics of thoughts/physique medicine were in a position to say, “See, I told you so!”. It turned out that the cancer organization that featured the write-up the very first time I saw it was at that quite time engaged in an all out drive to recruit human subjects into clinical trials. It has been observed that the elimination of hope can make even a excellent prospect look weak. I hate to say it but I seem to preserve obtaining back to the notion that hope and cash sit on opposite sides of the cancer table. We know that it is scientific due to the fact the Connected Press says that it is scientific. We know that optimism is now worthless for cancer outcomes due to the fact the Connected Press says it is. And, if you believe this, I have some Florida swamp land that I can sell to you at a great price!