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Cancer, the Mind, and the Problem of Self-blame

By Keith I. Block, Roger Dafter and Howard P. Greenwald


“Why me? ” This question of causal attribution is per-vasive among cancer patients—so pervasive, in fact, that it is the basis for the name of the largest national breast cancer patient support network. As work in the field of psychooncology has advanced, the emotional aspects of cancer have been publicized and have entered the minds of lay audiences everywhere. A 2001 survey by Stewart and colleagues of Canadian breast cancer survivors, recurrence free for an aver-age of nearly 9 years, found that 42 % of them believed that stress caused breast cancer—a belief that is without scientific foundation—while only 27% felt that genetics and 15 % felt that diet were involved in causing breast cancer.1 Remarkably, 60 % of the women attributed their lack of recurrence to havin

Year: 2016
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