Are we done blaming cancer patients for their cancer yet?
Posted Aug 25 2008 3:07pm
Years ago, researchers determined certain personality traits led to a greater risk for heart disease and specifically, a higher rate of heart attacks among those who shared common aggressive and driven personality traits. It was a small leap when researchers decided to study the personality traits of cancer patients to discover if there were common personality traits that might suggest who was more likely to develop cancer.
In a metaphor of our physical body as a manifestation of our inner being, early research concluded breast cancer patients tended to possess a lack of trust in their own feelings. Linking personality to a greater risk of cancer is too easy, and I believe lets the true culprit off the hook. Who among us could not learn to forgive more, have a stronger sense of personal identity, speak up for ourselves, stop speaking up so much, etc.
But young children who are diagnosed with cancer make these assumptions abstract and nonsensical. There simply have not been enough years lived to suffer the effects of personality. A decade later, and further research concludes the earlier research is wrong -- your personality will not cause cancer.