Relationships that heal - Plenae

Relationships that heal



Fifteen patients in an advanced stage of lung and pancreas cancer were interviewed for a study with the objective of clarifying which factors helped their recovery. All were receiving traditional and alternative therapies, but they accredited their survival to the relationships with their doctors and family – and not strictly to the type of treatment received.

“Social interaction is a great asset to increase the patients’ chances of survival”, says the author of the study, Moshe Frenkel, professor of the University of Texas, in the United States, and director of the integrative oncology service in the Meir Medical Center in Israel. “The participants didn’t show that typical behavior of wanting someone to wave a magic wand, getting rid of the cancer and going back to their normal lives”, the doctor told Medscape Medical News. “It seems that they were more realistic in facing of their own conditions, which helped in the scientific survey”

Frenkel described the cases in detail in an article published on-line in the webpage of the British journal of Future Medicine. Regarding the issue of doctor-patient relationship, the patients pointed out the quality of communication as a factor of major relevance. The study’s author observes that there are two essential points for patient survival. “First, the doctor needs to be actively involved in the care of each patient. Second, he/she should be an oncologist who thinks out of the box.”

Family support and the proactive attitude of the patient while accounting for their extraordinary survival are among the top recurring subjects throughout the interviews. There were cases of patients with an exceptional history of disease who had spontaneous cancer regression. Despite being well documented, the research assessing these cases are limited, according to Frenkel, and unable to provide a sufficiently clear explanation. “Most articles are based on reports and not on systematic research. It is very difficult to draw conclusions when there is no scientific support to back it up.”

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