Last winter, I sent out a survey asking “How would your life be different if you didn’t have to worry about cancer recurrence?” Your response was incredible: the highest response rate for any survey I’ve ever conducted. And your comments about what you were afraid of losing touched me to the core.
What I found out was:
• that there are an awful lot of you feeling fearful of cancer recurrence (no, you’re not alone)
• you’re really concerned about the impact fear is having on your health, relationships and your ability to enjoy life (“Sometimes I can’t sleep at night.” “I keep thinking this holiday may be my last.”)
• you haven’t yet found a sustainable solution to keep that fear at bay (“It’s like a cloud over me all the time.”)
I hear you, and I feel your pain.
Before I go on, let me tell you why your fear is so important to me.
I‘ve been a practicing naturopathic physician since 2008. Naturopathic physicians are different from conventionally trained physicians in that we’re trained not just to treat symptoms, but to identify and treat root causes of disease.
When it comes to cancer, that means that it’s not enough just to take out a tumor, or apply radiation or chemotherapy to “kill any other cancer cells floating around.” Don’t get me wrong: those procedures are important if they shortcut a life-threatening process. But they’re rarely a “cure” for cancer. Those measures just treat the symptom, which is the presence of fast-growing, irregular cells that interfere with the function of healthy cells and organs.
If we stop after treating the symptom and don’t look at why the symptom occurred in the first place, there’s nothing to prevent the symptom from coming back. Unfortunately, the mainstream system doesn’t provide this followup after acute treatment is over.
That leaves you in an unnerving “watch and wait” game: being called back every few months to check if any signs of cancer have reappeared. It’s a process that by its nature generates a lot of fear.
It’s hard enough to walk around feeling fearful. But the problem is compounded because fear is really hard on your body. There’s now a large body of evidence that the biochemical changes triggered by persistent fear cause changes to cells and tissues that make them fertile ground for development of further disease, including cancer recurrence.
In other words, persistent fear of recurrence can contribute to the very thing you’re afraid of: cancer recurrence.
It’s not tolerable that the system leaves survivors vulnerable in this way. Knowing what we know about fear’s negative impact on our biochemistry, it’s only right that we provide survivors tools to cope with fear and other chronic stressors. Yet when I looked around, I found no resource I could readily put in my patients’ hands to help them nip their fear in the bud.
So I created one.
I’ve tested it many times, and have gotten wonderful feedback for its ability to replace fear with sustainable calm within moments. It’s easy to learn, it works, and it will work for you.
What if you could walk through each day confidently, without the monkey of fear on your shoulder?
What if you could recapture the energy stolen by fear and use it in ways that made you happier and calmer?
Join me and Elyn Jacobs, breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist and radio host, for a conversation about why you need a strategy to manage fear as a cancer survivor, and how you can do so.
“Taming the Tiger:
A Simple Path to Releasing Your Fear of Cancer Recurrence”
By webinar: Wednesday May 6th noon Pacific/3 pm Eastern
Look forward to having you join us! In the meantime, leave a comment below and tell Elyn and me more about what you’d love to know.
• When have you felt the greatest fear around the cancer experience?
• What has helped you get past your fear? What hasn’t worked?