The Power of Positivity in Cancer Patients – Apollo Hospitals Blog

Overview

A positive attitude is crucial in maintaining and improving the overall health of people. Many studies have proven this, and research is still going on in this area. But a recent study indicates that how patient responds to cancer therapies may be significantly influenced by their positive attitude.

This blog tries to understand the correlation between positivity in cancer patients and their pace of recovery by looking at the study conducted at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

What does the study say? 

Research conducted at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center suggests that patients with psychosocial issues such as anxiety, depression, low optimism, or a lack of social support before a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) had higher chances of getting readmitted to the hospital. They stayed longer when readmitted than those with better overall mental health. 

Prior to the operation, the researchers advised performing mental health exams. In order to reduce readmissions, it may offer help to high-risk patients both before and after the treatment.

Let us delve deep and deconstruct the study to get a better understanding.

Distress and recovery results.

According to the research, individuals with depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety were around 1.7 times more likely to require hospital readmission after HSCT than those without any personality disorder. Particularly for patients with psychological risk factors, HSCT is a demanding procedure. There is a substantial risk of sadness and anxiety in 35 to 40 per cent of HSCT patients after their therapy. According to a few studies, HSCT patients with mental or psychosocial risk factors are more likely to experience psychological side effects.

However, the study is not as clear about the results since poorer results have been seen in some patients but not in others.

Study on the emotional well-being of cancer patients.

The study then focused on the emotional well-being of cancer patients and their pace of recovery. Although the study focuses on HSCT patients, some studies have proven that patients with depression and anxiety have worse overall results in all types of cancer . Even though the reason behind this is not apparent, it is hypothesized that it has something to do with cortisol and how worry and sadness affect cortisol levels, causing its level to rise and leading to a state of relative vulnerability.

The extent to which emotional health affects the treatment outcomes, which therapies are more successful, or which conditions put patients at higher risk are all unknown. According to research on how cancer develops and spreads, there is no reason to believe that emotions can contribute to or worsen the disease. But the group conducts support counselling and support assisting patients and survivors in coping with the complex reality they must face.

Here’s how the researchers selected an adequate remedy.

According to research, outcomes have been worse for some cancer patients who are depressed. To lessen depression and enhance results, they check patients for depression and anxiety at the beginning of cancer treatment. Exercise can also help by lowering the likelihood of exhaustion and despair. The research suggests that a person’s perception of side effects, quality of life, and clinical outcomes are influenced by their pre-cancer personality traits, coping mechanisms, and resilience.

Should we be concerned?

Studies have failed to conclusively state that cancer patients will suffer a bad outcome from therapies if they have a mental health issues. The results of cancer treatment for anyone are greatly influenced by how well they take care of themselves. Patients generally gain from therapy and social interactions and should take steps to preserve and enhance their mental well-being.

Some researchers say that mental health difficulties do not always result in worse outcomes though it is true that pre-existing mental health conditions sometimes make it more difficult for patients to receive cancer treatment with the best possible outcomes.

Can optimism treat cancer?

Although studies suggest optimism increases longevity and general mental health, there is little evidence that it can slow the spread of cancer. We know that patients must maintain a positive outlook in order to endure cancer treatment. While being positive  may have health benefits, studies have discovered that it’s best to allow for the expression of all sentiments. It is not advisable to ask the patients to stop feeling sad or crying . Crying can be a healthy release of inner emotions, and it is always best to provide them with a safe space to release their emotions.

Conclusion

Many studies have proven the obvious relationship between good mental health and faster recovery from diseases. But recovery from cancer involves many factors, and good mental health is definitely a major supporting element. But studies haven’t proven any direct correlation between treating cancer and stopping the spread with a positive attitude. It can help them manage the situation in a better manner. It is the duty of the family members and friends of the patients to provide them ample support and be a comfortable space to run to during distress.