Emotional well-being doesn’t influence cancer survival

November 14th, 2007 - 2:39 am ICT by admin  
The belief that a patient’s psychological state can impact the course and outcome of their cancer is one that has been prominent among patients and medical professionals, alike,” said Dr. James C. Coyne, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Penn and lead author of the study published in the journal Cancer.

“This belief leads people to seek psychotherapy in the hopes of promoting survival. While there can be lots of emotional and social benefits of psychotherapy, patients should not seek such experiences solely on the expectation that they are extending their lives,” he added.

The researchers enrolled participants in two Radiation Oncology Group clinical trials, and asked them to complete a baseline measure of quality of life questionnaire that included an Emotional Well-Being subscale. The outcome measure was overall survival.

During the course of study, 646 of the 1,093 subjects died. The researchers found that emotional status was not a predictor of survival among participants.

The researchers did not observe any effects even upon examining interactions between emotional well-being and study protocol, gender, primary cancer site, or stage of cancer.

They report that “this psychologic variable neither affected progression or death directly, nor functioned as a lurking variable.”

“While this study may not end the debate, it does provide the strongest evidence to-date that psychological factors are not independently prognostic in cancer management,” says Dr. Coyne. (ANI)

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