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Sunday, January 30, 2011

They are not losers: Personality traits of cancer survivors

Melissa Cole's story:

Having lost someone to cancer, someone who loved life and lived it more fully than most of us, I give my appreciation to Richard P. Sloan for his article citing studies showing "no significant association between personality traits and the likelihood of developing or surviving cancer."

If a fighting spirit were key to conquering cancer, then we might want to send patients to psychotherapy rather than to a clinical trial. Perhaps it would distract us from the return on the dollar that has been invested in cancer research so far.

Perhaps it would deaden the connotation that if those who survive a potentially fatal disease are fighters, then those who succumb are not. They are losers.

We all know that this is not true. We see terrifically brave and stoic people de each day from a disease of the body that has not daunted their spirit. Please, let's drop the battleground lexicon and treat all those dealing with such serious disease with more compassion and understanding.

Read a story about a doctor who is living with bladder cancer.

Thanks to Melissa for her source letter to the editor of the New York Times of Jan. 30.

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