Does Psychotherapy help in Cancer Survival or Not?

Does Psychotherapy help in Cancer Survival or Not?

If you are wondering what Psychotherapy is, it is the use of psychological methods to help a person change. It also helps to overcome problems in desired ways. Most involve one-to-one sessions between client and therapist, but some are conducted with groups.  

It is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. For the past 20 years, there are plenty of studies about the effect of psychotherapy on a cancer patients’ survival. Since then, it has been widely debated amongst researchers. This is due to contradicting results of the studies which are published so far.  

Clinical researchers have found clear connections between emotional well-being and their survival. But, is it really enough to help the cancer patient prolong their life or even help them to survive?

According to earlier studies, it was established that psychotherapy could help extend the life span of a cancer patient. However, based on recent findings, they have suggested otherwise. This might get a bit confusing. Well, several reviews have been published, almost all of which condemn the methods used by the previous studies.

In the earlier studies, rather than improving quality of life or reduce stress, a patient experience benefits from psychotherapy. They use it as a tool for coping with their disease by measuring how long they can survive.  

Methodological flaws

Recently, there are three studies and reviews which addressed a series of the methodological flaws of the earlier studies. The purpose of the present review of the studies of Psychosocial intervention is to determine the strength of the evidence for enhanced survival after participation in the interventions.

According to them, former studies should be abandoned because it shows null result for improved survival after patients undergo psychotherapy.

The evidence points to a need for investigating the interactions between the medical, psychological, social and health behavior components of intervention programs applied with the patients. Publishing information is very significant, for it has great impact with the types of treatment that cancer patients look for.

In addition, another possible problem is that the assumption that it does not have negative effects. But, it could possibly harm the patient in different perspective. Some of them includes declining in self-esteem and body image, and evidently, increased preoccupation with cancer.

As we keep on finding ways to fight cancer, why not ask those people who’re still alive and lucky to survive many years after they had been diagnosed with this serious illness? What can we learn about their experience? Several studies shows that through detailed life-history analysis, cultural values, such as positive thinking, having hopeful goals and individuation, show to strengthen the idea that we can control our health and possibly resist a recurrence of cancer.

As claimed by the newly published studies, such psychosocial intervention indicate reduced mortality.These patients engage themselves in physical activity and healthier diet.

Consequently, psychotherapy has not been proven to provide survival benefits. Being too occupied on cancer experience can interrupt individual will and self-reliance, which can actually help them to survive.

Psychotherapy on Quality of life

It seems clear that psychotherapy can affect quality of life. But the available scientific evidence does not support the idea that support groups or other forms of mental health therapy can help people with cancer live longer. Thus, for the patients monitoring this debate across recent years, one message is that, if joining a group is preferred by the person, there should be no guilt about that. There are many sources of distress that patients experience and so interventions are continually developed to alleviate them.

The survival debate has help out the maturation of psycho-oncology as a discipline. There is still much to do in responding to the many challenges for patients dealing with cancer and its related treatment in optimizing their quality of life.

If you find this article informative and want to know more facts about cancer and the different studies that will definitely surprise you, please visit our page:

Dr Farrah Cancer Center

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