First, a confession: I’m not pretending to have everything worked out, and to be able to make definitive statements about the links between depression and cancer. Ultimately, all illness is an act of God, and He doesn’t always do things that ‘fit’ the theories of us mere mortals.
Certain types of people are more prone to depression, and also more prone to cancer
That said, I’ve read a number of things recently that seem to suggest that certain types of people are more prone to depression, and in turn more prone to cancer, and I want to share them with you, dear reader, because the more of us start thinking about these things, the faster the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place.
In this post, I’m just going to share some related quotes and ‘factoids’ I’ve found, and let you draw your own conclusions. The one thing I will say before we kick off is to re-emphasize that 99% of the time, God sends us illnesses in order to achieve some goal, change or growth in our lives.
The God-based holistic health model that I use as the basis for everything I write on this website and elsewhere sets out the three areas that the ‘problem’, whatever it is, will show up. First, it shows up in the spiritual realm; then if it’s not resolved at that level, it moves down into the mind and emotions; and if it’s not resolved there, then and only then it manifests as an actual physical malady or illness.
So now, onto the quotes (most of them come from the book ‘Love, Medicine and Miracles’, by Bernie Siegel.)
Quotes highlighting the body-mind-soul link between cancer and depression
- “In the mid 1970s, Vernon Riley, at Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Research Foundation, completed a thorough series of experiments with a strain of mice bred to be susceptible to breast cancer. By raising some in sheltered, stress-free environments and others in stressful surroundings, he was able to vary the rate of cancer from 7 to 92 percent.”
- “Not everyone who suffers a tragic loss or stressful change in lifestyle develops an illness. The deciding factor seems to be how one copes with the problem. Those who can give vent to their feelings yet continue with their lives generally stay well.”
- “If a person deals with anger or despair when they first appear, illness need not occur. When we don’t deal with our emotional needs, we set ourselves up for physical illness.”
- “In The Will to Live Arnold Hutschnecker wrote, “Depression is a partial surrender to death, and it seem that cancer is despair experienced at the cellular level.”
- “I would estimate that 80% of my patients [the majority of whom had cancer] were unwanted or treated indifferently as children. Even lab rats, when prematurely separated from their mothers, become more susceptible to cancer.”
- “Cigarette smokers who are emotionally well-adjusted or who eat a healthy diet high in vitamin A have less lung cancer than those who are depressed or eat poorly.”
- “In a study of people living near Three Mile Island, Dr Andrew Baum found that those who showed their rage and fear suffered far less from stress and psychological problems than those who took a ‘rational’ approach. Unexpressed feelings depress your immune response.”
- “Years of experience have taught me that cancer, and indeed nearly all diseases, are psychosomatic.”
- “In the 1930s, two researchers were able to vary the incidence of tumours in a strain of cancer-prone mice from 16-88 % merely by raising some on calorie-restricted diets and plentiful exercise, while giving others unlimited food and little opportunity for physical activity.”
- Phyllis was a patient who had extensive pancreatic cancer that was no longer responding to treatment, and she went home to die. Several months later, she returned – and the cancer had completely gone. The other doctors wanted to know what had happened, so Phyllis told them: “I decided to live to be a hundred and leave my troubles to God.”
- [Back to Bernie Siegel]: “I could really end the book here, because this peace of mind can heal anything. I believe faith is the essence, a simple solution, yet too hard for most people to practice.”
- “Many people, especially cancer patients, grow up believing there is some terrible flaw at the centre of their being, a defect they must hide if they are to have any chance for love.”
- “I am convinced that unconditional love is the most powerful known stimulant of the immune system. If I told patients to raise their blood levels of immune globulins or killer T cells, no-one would know how. But if I can teach them to love themselves and others fully, the same changes happen automatically. The truth is: love heals.”
- “Scientists who have studied responses to stress have found that ineffective anger is the emotion most destructive to homeostasis. A serene acceptance of what is promotes health, but by keeping the mind clear it also puts a person in a better position to change things that need changing.”
- Quote from Dr Ellerbroek: “I believe that anger and depression are pathological emotions, that they are immediately responsible for the vast majority of human ills, including cancer.”
In the next post, I’ll share the findings of a clinical study that was done many years’ ago that sheds more light on the type of personality most likely to develop a potentially life-threatening illness.