Cancer Pain and Fatigue – Reducing Them With Positive Mental and Emotional Attitude

Mar 27, 2009 by

Cancer Pain and Fatigue – Reducing Them With Positive Mental and Emotional Attitude

Are you seeking a painkiller, especially from debilitating cancer pain? Look no further than within you – your positive and optimistic attitudes!

Yes, what is a more natural, safe and cost-effective way of reducing pain than your own mental and emotional outlook. It works, as this study at the Michigan State University has revealed.

Optimism Helps Reduce Cancer Pain and Fatigue

by Reuben Chow

Monty Python, in his hit song, asks us to “always look on the bright side of life”. Recent research in the United States has revealed a very tangible benefit of a bright outlook – reduced cancer pain and fatigue.

Cancer – A Feared Disease

There are many aspects of cancer which makes it such a frightening disease. For example, it often does not exhibit symptoms until the time when most people think it is “too late” to do anything. This makes it almost a silent killer.

It makes people feel helpless, and cancer sometimes spread very rapidly. It seems to afflict anyone, anywhere, too.

Then there is the little matter of the pain which cancer brings, in particular during its latter stages, and also for certain types of cancer, such as bone cancer, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer.

The pain and fatigue which cancer patients often suffer from can badly affect their quality of life as well as their ability to function, not just physically, but also mentally.

Many protocols and therapies, both conventional and “alternative”, are used to reduce and manage pain and fatigue caused by cancer. Some of these include pain-killing drugs, foot reflexology, massage and acupuncture.

Now, research conducted by Dr Margot E Kurtz and her team of colleagues from the Michigan State University in East Lansing has found that cancer patients with more optimistic outlooks were better able to manage their cancer pain, while those patients who had a strong sense of mastery, or control over their environment, experienced less severe fatigue on top of being able to better manage their pain.

Details of Study

The study looked at the personality traits, such as dispositional optimism and mastery, of 214 cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy, to see how they affect the patients’ ability to manage the severity of their cancer fatigue and pain.

Participants of the study were put through a 10-week symptom control intervention program, with the help of a nurse. They were interviewed three times – at the start of the study, after 10 weeks at the end of the intervention program, and again after 16 weeks, to get a sense of their emotional states.

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