Naturally Balanced > Body and mind > Research > A human facing the risk of cancer

A human facing the risk of cancer

Published: 31/07/2023
Kazimierz Kopczyński
In my scientific and popularization activities , as well as teaching, I preach the idea of a holistic approach to Man, Earth and the Universe. I am an enthusiast of ecophilosophy, which points to the spiritual and aesthetic dimension of Nature.

Date of the last update: 31.07.2023

Prevalence and frequency of cancers

In highly industrialized countries, malignant neoplasms are the second most common cause of death (after heart and vascular diseases) and account for over 20% of all deaths. The number of malignant tumors in the world is Stjernsward about 9 million, and deaths 7 million.(1) 

In Germany, around 160,000 people die from the disease every year. people. 

In the USA, England, Austria and Switzerland the numbers look similar. None of the industrialized countries has statistics of mortality from this disease below 20%, which means that in the West today every fifth person dies of cancer! 

Comparison of cancer statistics in two locations in Germany: 

in Hamburg and the Saarland indicates that doctors diagnose 250 a year thousand cancer cases, it is 90,000 more than deaths from the disease (2). Results from the fact that 90 thousand people overcame their disease. These numbers, albeit from one parties may evoke fear, but at the same time they allow for certain optimism. They show that you should always hope! The epidemiological situation in Poland is as follows: people are diagnosed with malignant tumors annually: over 70,000. people die annually for this reason; every fourth Pole will fall ill during his whole life living with a malignant tumor; every fifth Pole dies of cancer malicious. Average 5-year survival rate for a cancer patient is almost half as low in Poland (25-30%) as in the United States (over 50%) (3). It should be noted, however, that almost every second patient malignant neoplasm in Poland is reported with such an advanced disease that it is not possible radical treatment can be applied. Early detection of cancer malignant presents a real chance of cure. 

Cancer as a dissipative structure

The concept of dissipative structures was formulated in 1966 based on research in the field of non-linear non-equilibrium thermodynamics carried out under the guidance of a Belgian physicochemist, winner of the Awards Nobel, I. Prigogine (4). It turns out that during degradation (dissipation or otherwise dissipation) of energy – that is, during irreversible processes of the kind conduction of heat, conduction of electricity, diffusion or chemical reactions, structures not found in equilibrium conditions may be formed thermodynamics, which disappear when the irreversible process ceases. 

This observation makes a breakthrough in the existing thinking in physics, chemistry, in biology and philosophy. It has been used in biology description of the essence of cancer by the Polish scientist R. Klimek (5). 

The definition of cancer proposed by R. Klimek unifies the existing ones theories of carcinogenesis and abolishes their competitiveness, and most importantly, opens up new diagnostic, therapeutic and prophylactic possibilities. Cancer (cancer) is – according to R. Klimek – a biological dispersive structure, self-organizing in the body as an alternative to the death of its subcellular structures, cells and tissues (6). Understanding the essence of the dissipative structure is enough to stop being afraid of cancer and evaluate it like any other natural phenomenon. It is therefore worth explaining this concept in a bit more detail. 

We will use an example given by R. Klimek in one of his works, which perfectly illustrates a given phenomenon (7). Well, let’s imagine the body as a spinning saucer, which we can keep in a horizontal position by supporting it with a bar in a place exactly corresponding to its equilibrium point. 

If all the components of the saucer are perfectly distributed, it’s a point will fall in the middle of it. The saucer, supported by a rod in this place, will fall, and if it is in rotation, it will stay in this position much longer. Then, slight shifts in the center of gravity will be compensated by the energy of the spinning saucer, which, if large enough, can keep the saucer in the air for a very short time even after the support is removed. 

Our organism, represented by this spinning saucer, is built from the same ingredients as the entire Universe. They work in it also the same gravitational forces, electromagnetic forces and strong and weak forces nuclear interactions. The saucer organism spins because it is alive. 

If this saucer had not undergone any disturbances, it would have with the passage of life a man in the perfect state of his own internal balance, and thus the support bar, representing the length of life, would naturally wear out. Then the saucer making its final revolutions would be on the ground without falling, naturally ending his life by exhausting his internal energy. 

If the body is in states close to equilibrium, the saucer may be less or less tilts more, but by increasing energy consumption, it can return to equilibrium thanks to the repair and defense forces. Common in diseases an increase in body temperature is nothing more than a metabolic acceleration of the body to use the body’s reserves, or at the cost of less in the data conditions of the necessary structures, bring the body closer to a state of equilibrium. 

There may also be a situation where they will be used in a given less useful structures as sources of additional matter and energy, that could keep the saucer moving for a while longer. such cancer is taking advantage of this. In states far from the equilibrium of the organism, the parts of the organism most threatened with death, thanks to the general natural phenomenon of self-organization of dissipative structures, can reorganize themselves into such new biological structures. Cancer, as emphasized by R. Klimek, differs from other diseases of the body in that it is inextricably linked to the formation of new biological structures in the body from the matter and energy of parts of its own system. 

If by cause we mean the first member of the relationship in time cause and effect, then the cause of cancer will be, according to the concept discussed here, a persistent dissipative state, far from equilibrium with its biological environment in the body. This is the only opinion R. Klimka the true cause of the disease to which all others lead, innumerable and even distant conditions. 

Biological conditions

Cancer in the form of a tumor is a disease of body cells called somatic cells. If, as a result of some disorder within the genes, any of the somatic cells does not respond to the signals regulating proper growth, it begins to reproduce in an anarchic manner and passes this property on to the daughter cells. This property applies only to somatic cells, not reproductive cells. 

Thus, heredity does not determine the occurrence of cancer, but it can influence it to increase the statistical risk of the appearance of one or another of them characters. The susceptibility to getting this disease seems to be hereditary other cancer, which is what doctors call a “propitious environment” for growth specific type of cancer*(8). 

Many authors emphasize that the formation of a malignant tumor is a consequence the interaction of hereditary factors and the influence of the environment, as in most physiological features(9). For example, smoking is known to increase incidence of lung cancer. With the same number of burns cigarettes are more likely to develop lung cancer some genetic constitutions than others.

Some research suggest that the presence of the enzyme aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase in the lung  -AHH, necessary for the conversion of benzene inhaled with tobacco smoke into a carcinogen, it can be genetically controlled by a single gene with a pair of alleles, one of which is associated with a large (HH) and the other with a small (LL)  AHH content in lung tissue. In HH individuals, the risk of disease for lung cancer is 36 times higher than in LL individuals.(10). Hereditary factor it also plays a role in the development of breast cancer, but it is only one one of the factors necessary for the development of this disease(11). Cancer cells have in addition to characteristic antigens for the cells of the host tissue from which they originate, also antigens specific – some of them are common to different types of cancer, others occur only in a specific tumor (12). 

The ability to respond to the immune system gives the system the lymphatic system, whose central cell is a lymphocyte. Lymphocyte precursors are found in the bone marrow. 

Thus, the interaction between the cancer and the system depends on the functioning of the lymphatic system, as well as, to a large extent, on the functioning of the endocrine glands, especially the neurohormonal regulation associated with the hypothalamic-pituitary system (13). The action of the endocrine system is closely coupled with the action of the immune system and the central nervous system. The functioning of the latter is significantly influenced by environmental and psychosocial factors.

Environmental factors

Epidemiologists believe that about 70-80% of cancers in humans are caused by them probably environmental factors (14). Therefore, it is possible to prevent them by protecting the environment. 

There is a need to undertake ecological research in which questions will be asked about the existence of possible relationships between the incidence of e.g. gastric cancer and factors determining the chemical composition of water, soil, etc. 

Research on the chemical composition of the water from the wells they used people with stomach cancer showed particularly high levels of nitrates and nitrites, which are precursors to nitrosamines, known for their carcinogenic effects (15). It has been found that the death rate from stomach cancer in the US is higher in these states in which the geochemical environment is lower in selenium content. If in the geochemical structure, i.e. water and soil, of a specific area there is a lack of a given element or its excess, it must also be reflected in its content or lack in the plant organism, and thus in the chain human digestive system (16). 

The most powerful carcinogens include, apart from nitrosamines, also aflatoxins – toxin-forming metabolites of fungi. Any food products should be stored in the refrigerator or cool, dry pantry. Heat and humidity are conducive to the emergence of mold fungi, whose aflatoxins can cause damage to the kidneys, liver, spleen and nervous system in humans, and consequently lead to the formation of cancer. Aflatoxins are resistant, they even withstand the boiling point. Therefore, they are not damaged by cooking food products infected with mold. Such products must not be eaten. 

Studies of the environment of patients with stomach cancer, which appeared in a cluster within a radius of 300 meters in one of the villages near Krakow, showed the presence of toxin-causing fungi in the patients’ apartments, which were much less common in the homes of healthy people. The conducted research showed that this correlation has a cause and effect relationship (17). 

Among other substances that have carcinogenic properties, let’s list an amalgam used in dental fillings that releases gradually mercury, which is a strong poison, asbestos used in some countries in construction, benzol – a component of fuels, the derivatives of which are also found in solvents of paints and varnishes, aromatic hydrocarbons coming out of exhaust pipes of internal combustion engines. A suspected carcinogenic substance is formaldehyde, found in chipboard and chipboard, produced by the wood industry and used in the construction of furniture. Let’s also say on this occasion that the embers of a burning cigarette create formaldehyde and release a highly carcinogenic substance: dimethylnitramine (18). So if environmental factors play such an important role in etiology cancer, we should not remain indifferent to voices of warning and postulates remedial actions, especially since many of them do not require major material resources. Protection of the natural environment becomes for us the main task also in the context of cancer prevention. 

Nutrition factors

The proper development of man, as well as plants and animals, depends, among others, on from the constant supply of material to the construction of structures planned in the DNA code, as well as energy materials that humans take from the soil along with plant and animal food. 

Based on current knowledge, we can point to the following essential ones factors linking diet with cancer: 

  1. Total caloric content of foods, the role of which is indicated by the increase in the incidence of cancer in people who are significantly overweight. When we eat too much during a meal, food particles in an undigested form penetrate the intestinal walls and enter the bloodstream. Food particles will be broken down and removed by the immune system, which protects the body from allergic reactions to food particles that have entered the blood. However, the immune system stays as a result, it is weakened and the risk of cancer increases. In a system in which there is a lower amount of fats contained, there is also a reduced production hormonal, which causes slim women who regularly practice sports 60% less likely to develop uterine and ovarian cancer than obese, immobile women. Also, the risk of breast cancer is lower by about 50% in women who play sports. 
  2. Nutrient content of the diet, i.e. the percentage of protein, fat, carbohydrates and fibers. A diet rich in protein and fat, and at the same time poor in fibrous substances, contributes to the occurrence of gastrointestinal cancers. A correlation was also found between the incidence of colorectal cancer and breast cancer, which may indicate a relationship between the occurrence of breast cancer and diet. 
  3. Plant or animal origin of foods. A diet rich in plant-based ingredients generally reduces the incidence of cancer. 
  4. Carcinogenic substances related to the production, storage and processing of food products and beverages, primarily aflatoxins, nitrosamines (formed after eating fish and meat preserved with salts or esters of nitric acid), artificial sweeteners (cyclamines, saccharin) and benzopyrene (found in flame-roasted and smoked foods). It is also worth mentioning here that benzopyrene, which is also formed during the combustion of tobacco products, can be neutralized by benzylisothiocyant contained in cruciferous plants, i.e. in all types of cabbage. 
  5. Vitamins, especially vitamin A, B2, C, E and micronutrients such as selenium, cobalt, zinc, magnesium. Vitamins C, E and the mentioned microelements are antioxidants and prevent the formation of free radicals, which are attributed to a significant role in the genesis of cancer. 
  6. Abuse of alcohol. Suspicions of alcohol were confirmed is a significant carcinogen. Increases e.g. risk of getting sick breast cancer (even 1 glass a week increases the risk by 40%). 

The influence of nutrition on the formation of tumors seems to be in the light the latest research is an indisputable fact. The aforementioned factors are indicated by numerous authors in their publications (19). A proper diet can therefore make a major contribution to the prevention of cancer. 

Psychosomatic conditions

Already in antiquity Plato said: “It would be madness to want to heal only the body without healing the spirit. These words apply to every field medicine, and oncology in particular. 

Modern physicians are increasingly realizing that all disorders are psychosomatic in the sense that they involve the constant interaction of mind and body. Every disease takes hold at the same time mind and body, these two aspects are so intertwined that they must never be separated to split. 

They provide convincing arguments for psychosomatic connections heart diseases. Compounds of this type have been found successfully, however in relation to other serious diseases, especially cancer. 

Proof of the healing effect of a positive attitude alone patient is the placebo effect. A placebo is a drug-like imitation drugs that are administered to patients who believe they are receiving the real drug. The strength of the patient’s positive attitude is strengthened by therapist with suggestions. Many studies show that placebo brings particularly good results in alleviating or removing physical symptoms, it also helps in curing diseases for which medicine knows no cure. 

The famous researcher of suggestion and hypnosis V.A. Gheorghiu claims that by suggestion all mental and psychosomatic phenomena can be influenced (20). 

The negative attitude of the patient, doctor or relatives of the sick person can cause a “reverse placebo effect”. It is known that patients who are told that they have 6 to 9 months to live, as a rule, do not actually live longer. Statements of this kind have a powerful effect on the mind-body system, working like a magic spell, and therefore should never be made. It should not be forgotten that a word can even kill a person. A clear example of this is the voodoo death, where a dozen or so hours after hearing the tribal court, the convict dies. 

One of the pioneers of medicine, the creator of the famous theory of stress, Hans Selye, showed that the “stress of life” and related frustration lead many people to hard times disease, drug addiction, drug addiction, and sometimes even suicide (21). 

Stress is the body’s non-specific response to any demand placed upon it. Such the very changes in the body, caused by, for example, nervous tension, physical injury, infection, cold, heat, X-rays and other factors, are what we call stress. So we can say that stress is what remains when we ignore specific changes. Harmful, unpleasant stress Selye calls distress. Unable to unload the stress reaction, a person becomes its victim. The originally defensive mechanism turns out to be a mechanism of destruction for man. Stress turns into distress. 

According to O.C. Simonton, a factor particularly predisposing to the development of cancer is the loss of an important love object six to eighteen months before diagnosis (22). The author emphasizes that this is well-documented in long-term studies, while also pointing out that, of course, not everyone who has suffered a major loss, such as the loss of a spouse or child, develops cancer or another serious illness. This is just one of the factors. Loss, both real and imagined, must have a lot of great importance, and even more important is the feeling it evokes in the patient. Both the loss and the response to it must be such that a feeling arises helplessness and hopelessness. 

O.C. Simonton also refers in his work to the observations of E.P. Pendergrass, who found that emotional stress, such as the death of a son, the infidelity of a daughter-in-law or the burden of long-term unemployment, became death in cancer patients who had successfully undergone treatment and lived in good health for many years (23). This proves that the course of the disease depends on the feeling of despair (distress). 

Studies conducted by doctors show that among cancer patients, 7% lived in a calm, stress-free atmosphere, while 92% were stressed almost every day. Stress, which led to hopelessness and danger, turned out to be particularly dangerous. Such feelings are relatively common among the black population of the United States, which would explain the higher incidence of cancer among American blacks. The same factor causes that cancer incidence among housewives is 54% higher than the average in a given region of the country and as much as 15.7% higher than among economically active women. Extensive research has denied that there are more carcinogens in the kitchen (24). 

The most dangerous effect on a person is depression combined with frustration and anger that man does not try to oppose. From the psychological from this point of view, what is important is the person’s response to stress. Maybe she doesn’t not be able to control her husband when he angers her or her children when they frustrate her, but he can control how he chooses to react to this situation. 

At this point it is appropriate to recall Hippocrates, who called for taking not only the disease, but also the sick person. B. Siegel returns attention to the fact that medicine is primarily interested in the disease, not patients and their attitude to life, and that physicians almost never ask themselves the question of why a person does not get a certain disease (25). 

O.C. Simonton talks about the cumulative pattern of a patient’s life history. This pattern plays an important role in the development of particular diseases, especially heart disease and cancer (26). 

Stress can interfere with many important bodily functions. The great neurohormonal importance of stress has been proven: the release of neuromediators, excessive production and release of pituitary hormones, and consequently thyroid and adrenal hormones. Neuromediators and hormones influence immune reactions (27). 

Interesting data is provided by animal studies. Protecting mice of one strain that predisposes 75% of them to tumor development nipple before their 400th day of life, from stress factors such as noise, various activities, chemical environment, caused a decrease in the incidence of cancer to 15% before 400 days of age and delayed by 200 days in the remaining 60% (28). Other experiments have shown that mice infected with a specific cancer virus and under constant stress, were significantly more likely to develop malignant tumors than mice that were also infected, but staying in stress-free conditions (29). 

Research in the field of psychoimmunology continues to provide new data on the influence of psychologically conditioned stress on the efficiency of the immune system. It was found, for example, that in healthy people whose spouse was in a dying state or had died shortly before, a decrease in the functional readiness of T lymphocytes compared to the control group. T lymphocytes play a major role in the defense against cancer cells. Decreased defensive readiness persisted 6 weeks after the stress event (30). 

Despite the extensive literature on the role of the psyche in the development of the disease continues the psychosomatic determinants of cancer are underestimated. F. Capra in his an excellent book The turning point writes that medicine will only then be fully effective when it becomes ‘psychosomatic medicine’ (31). belongs to himself realize that attitudes and mental processes do not only play an important role when the body starts to get sick; they can play an equally important role during recovery. Also, very importantly, psychosomatic the nature of the disease entails the possibility of psychosomatic self-therapy. 

Influence of personality and mental activity

Research on the relationship between specific mental activity and somatic disease comes from the clinical observations of M. Friedman and R.H. Rosenman, who found that people who tend to compete, who want high recognition and promotion, who engage in achieving as many goals as possible in the shortest possible time, are more likely to develop ischemic heart disease. This set of behaviors has been called behavior pattern A (32) 

In-depth research into the life history pattern was also conducted in the development of other diseases. O.C. Simonton (33) gives the following predisposing factors constituting negative personality traits of a cancer patient: 

  1. Strong tendency to retain resentment and marked inability to develop and maintain meaningful and long-lasting relationships; 
  2. A tendency to feel sorry for yourself; 
  3. Poor ability to develop and maintain meaningful and long-lasting relationships; 
  4. Very poor self-image 

Other studies (34) show that people most at risk of the disease cancer include: 

  1. those who in their youth did not experience the feeling of unconditional love with parents’ pages; 
  2. all those who expect the acceptance of their person from the environment and make a positive opinion about themselves dependent on it; 
  3. those who had difficulty making contacts, as a result what they live alone with the feeling of unfulfilled expectations; 
  4. those who consider themselves ridiculous, weak and helpless. 

R. Grossarth-Maticek constructed four personality types that he studied in terms of cancer risk “It turned out to be a cancerous type a man who does everything for others, who sees the meaning of his life, success and well-being in a close relationship with a partner (the person thing), he is constantly looking for the proximity of these objects, he tries to win favors for them himself, so when he is rejected, he falls into extreme depression and sees his situation as hopeless (35). 

When interviews with women were classified, who came to the clinic with nipple tumors, by types constructed by R. Grossarth-Maticka predicted 90% of which women have cancer benevolent and which are malicious (36). 

He is a famous researcher of the psychological way of life of cancer patients American clinical psychologist L. LeShan. 80% of his patients felt in their youth that they were unwanted children. These patients often experienced feelings of isolation, neglect and despair, and strong interpersonal relationships seemed difficult and dangerous to them (37). R. Klimek also draws attention to the importance of early childhood for the later development of cancer. According to R. Klimek, the frequent lack of emotional and emotional relationships with the mother during childhood is related to the development of cervical cancer (38). 

The influence of childhood experiences and life path on the development of cancer was excellently described by F. Zorn in the book entitled Mars™. The author of this book lived to be thirty-two. He died of cancer. Shortly before his death, he described the story of his experiences. Although the author is a philologist by education, he made a deep psychological study, writing in an extremely honest and open way about the development of his personality, the course of mental activity and interpersonal contacts. We will refer to this work later in the discussion holistic cancer concept. At this point, let’s pay attention to the conclusion that comes from many psychological studies cancer. Well, cancer patients are recruited from among people who have devoted their identity to a single goal or role (person, work, home) neglecting the development of their own individuality. F. Zorn writes: “My only function was to conform harmoniously to what I thought was the world. I wasn’t myself in an individual sense clearly isolated from the surrounding world, I was only a conformist part of this world (40). 

Thus, it turns out that self-image, self-esteem, identity, separateness, self-esteem or – to use a more general term orientation in oneself is what is important, and perhaps psychological factors of decisive importance in the development of cancer. 

Cancer – an evolutionarily shaped regulator of the body’s life

Human studies and animal experiments suggest that cancer is the result of a multi-stage process. In the case of solid tumors, the lactation period, i.e. the time from the action of a carcinogen to the clinical manifestation of a malignant tumor, is on average 20 years; in the case of the so-called systemic cancers, such as leukemia, have a shorter latency period of 4-5 years (41)

Such a long period of cancer development and the prevalence of its occurrence in nature, both in humans as well as in animals and plants, may be evidenced by that we are dealing with an evolutionary and adaptive mechanism. Therefore, the view of R. Klimek, who considers cancer (as well as benign tumors) not only as biological structures prolonging the life of the most endangered parts of the body, but also as a regulator of the life of the entire system, seems justified.

Cancer appearing in the body mobilizes most or the whole body to eliminate dissipative conditions. If the system is unable to eliminate or repair negative disorders using its natural mechanisms of homeostasis, the resulting cancer deepens the already unfavorable entropy balance of the body and accelerates the death of the entire system. Therefore, it works in accordance with the principle of liquidation of evolutionarily unfavorable internal changes by destroying the entire organism. It is also significant in this context that cancers involving or related to reproductive cells tissues and organs develop early and lead to the death of the organism before it is mature enough to initiate pregnancy and give birth; this prevents the perpetuation of species-unfavorable traits (42).

Natural selection favors these changes and adaptation mechanisms, that ensure the development of the whole species. Cancer, causing a deadly disease of an individual, acts selectively, and therefore in a way desirable for the species. Each of us is at risk of cancer. Everyone is in mental situations that are conducive to the development of the disease, everyone can weaken their body through stress, environmental toxins, improper food to such an extent that the immune system will no longer protect it against cancer. But as the results of many of the studies discussed earlier indicate, cancer is not only a biological regulator, but also a psychosomatic one. So much depends on ourselves, on our mental activity. It is in each of us development potential that we can effectively use in the fight against cancer.

Statistics claim that in hundred-year-old people, malignant tumors are extremely rare rarely cause death (43). There is no doubt that process played a role here selection: whoever reaches this advanced age is probably immune also against malignant tumors. On the other hand, it is known that these people usually enjoy mental health and have a positive attitude towards the world, themselves and other people, they are capable of effective and often creative activities.

Holistic cancer concept

A. Muschg, in the preface to the book by F. Zorn Mars, wrote: “If one only studies and treats cancer, it is as if he does not treat it (44). F. Zorn himself compare and cancer to the tip of the iceberg. His words are eloquent: “Even though I didn’t know I had cancer yet, I intuitively made the right diagnosis because I thought the tumor was ‘swallowed tears’. It meant more or less as if all the tears I had not cried in my life and had not wanted to cry had pooled in my throat and formed this lump, because their true destiny, to be cried, could not be to fulfill. From a purely medical point of view, this poetic-sounding diagnosis is, of course, incorrect, but in relation to the human being as a whole, it is fully true: all the accumulated suffering that I had been holding back for years, unable to contain myself, exploded due to excessive pressure, destroying including body (45).

The famous German oncologist J. Issels in an interview with him after a series of successful cancer cures by him, he said: “Cancer, contrary to what most academic doctors believe, it’s not the right disease. It is of course important that the tumor is removed or to cause it to regress by irradiation. But this way still far from successfully treating the disease. The cause still remains – a certain tendency of the body to form a tumor. If you want In order to effectively treat cancer, this tumor-generating capacity must be removed (46). We will also quote the words of H.J. Raabe: “Cancer is a natural disorder order, harmony in the body. One day, let’s call it “Day X”, some of the billions of cells that make up our body transform into: their structure and nature change. Suddenly, they no longer need oxygen to live, but they nourish themselves through fermentation processes. They don’t share anymore biological cycle, but they grow faster and faster, they become more and more more exuberant, until finally they form bumps. In the lungs. In the nipples. in the intestines, in the stomach, on the skin, or in the brain. These cellular changes, tumors, can occur everywhere(47).

What determines in which structure of our body cancer will appear? Every organism is only as strong as its weakest link. But it’s a link will be attacked by cancer when the whole organism is bad, when improper nutrition and psychosomatic conditions of the disease cancer will become more and more pronounced.

The holistic concept of cancer, it seems, best explains the determinants of cancer and at the same time creates optimistic prognoses as to therapeutic effects. Therapy, however, must necessarily take place with the participation of both a doctor and a psychologist. Already today we can talk about psycho-oncology, which opens up new and promising perspectives.

Prevention (psychological prevention)

Since the formation of cancer is associated with so many and diverse factors, prevention must be as comprehensive as possible.

Therefore, you should avoid tobacco smoke, limit alcohol consumption, stay 3-4 meters away when refueling your car, entrusting control over refueling to an automatic machine (then we inhale only one-hundredth part of the prevailing poisons, mainly benzol), due to the aromatic hydrocarbons from the exhaust pipes of internal combustion engines, avoid traffic jams, follow a proper diet, etc.

Of course, environmental pollution, the use of artificial fertilizers and chemical plant protection products in agriculture enable us to have complete individual control over all these factors. But if psychosomatic and personality conditions play such a significant role in the etiology of cancer, much depends on us.

So let’s prevent excessive stress in the first place, especially lasting permanently for a long period of time, leading to a sense of despair (distress). Let’s learn the methods and techniques of defusing the situation stress, e.g. relaxation methods such as autogenic training (52). Let’s try solve our problems and difficulties in life without excessive participation emotions, especially anger and anger. Let’s forgive other people and let’s not make our opinions about ourselves so much dependent on the acceptance of others.

Prevention starts from early childhood. Actually targeted upbringing and teaching play a huge role here. Since self-identity, self-esteem, self-orientation, is a factor psychological of such importance in the development of cancer, the role of parents and school in shaping a child’s self-image can be very big.

The development and shaping of interests in a child is underestimated. Meanwhile, it is precisely interests that motivate a person to be creative, they trigger the development potential inherent in it as well as positive emotions and feelings. Interests allow you to see the meaning of life, they determine to a significant extent activities aimed at overcoming life’s obstacles, because a person then has goals that he desires despite the difficulties that arise realize.

Developing a student’s interests also prevents excessive stress school; he does not learn then primarily for the sake of evaluation or for the sake of it to be better than others, he learns because he enjoys learning. Thus, if a student reaches the phase of self-enhancement in the development of interests, his actions become intrinsically motivated, his sense of self increases autonomy and values.

Shaping interests can therefore play an important role for both in psychological prevention and psychocorrection (53). That’s why it’s so important is the creation of school interest clubs, as well as the creation of similar clubs in cultural and educational institutions. It’s important for parents to understand the importance of developing interests in their child and how it contributes to the development of his personality and, consequently, also to his mental health. There is a well-known saying that prevention is better than cure, but still not the importance of prevention is appreciated. People to see a doctor or a psychologist they report only when they are already sick, and it is often their disease in an advanced stage, or have life problems that have accumulated for many years. The same is true of cancer. When they start metastasis, it can be difficult to stop the progression of the disease. But let’s not forget that cancer develops slowly, for many years, and before it fully reveals itself, we usually experience long-term stress and frustration. If we cannot help ourselves, we should seek advice from a psychologist, the sooner the better, because we should remember that cancer “waits” for a long time, so we have a good chance to prevent its appearance, so let’s take advantage of these opportunities.


Mental attitude and psychological techniques are important means both in the prevention and treatment of disease. Positive attitude in combination with special techniques to reduce stress, it has a positive effect on the mind-body system, contributing to the reversal of the disease process, and even to complete recovery from cancer.

Psychological interventions are not intended to replace radiotherapy or chemotherapy, but they are an indispensable component of a comprehensive approach to the patient. In order to emphasize the specificity of psychological interactions, which are fundamentally different from the therapy used in medicine, S. Gerstmann proposes to call these interactions psychocorrection (54). A psychologist helps a sick person to solve life problems, overcome the difficulties they face, correct the course of their mental activity so that the actions performed by him were effective; it also helps in creative development personality, in changing self-orientation and in shaping appropriate attitudes towards other people.

An example of such comprehensive therapy is the cooperation of the Simontons – an oncologist and a psychologist, who together helped patients diagnosed with incurable cancer find a way to survive. Detailed corrective psychological techniques, such as relaxation, visualization, are described in their already mentioned book, Triumph of Life.

S. Simonton describes two patients whose medical treatment was the same, age and physical conditions almost identical. The difference lay in the attitude, in the way the patients reacted when they learned the diagnosis. We will quote this description in full, because it is a telling example of the influence of mental activity on the development of the disease. “Both had lung cancer that had spread to the brain. One of them had been ill for more than a year, but never left work except for the hours when he came in for treatment. Earlier, when his illness developed, he became aware of many things that life was meaningless to him. He began to spend a lot of time with his family, taking them with him on business trips. I remember how he would say one day: “You know, I forgot that I wasn’t looking at the trees.

I haven’t looked at the trees, the grass, the flowers for a long time. And now I’m doing it.” Each week he got better, stronger, healthier. The second – stopped working practically the same day he heard the diagnosis. He stayed at home and watched TV all day. His wife said that his main occupation all day was looking at his watch to have certainty that she would give him painkillers in time. He suffered constantly. He couldn’t even bring himself to go fishing, which he used to like. He died In a short period of time. (55).

Anne Marie Tausch German psychologist who herself suffered from cancer and emerged victorious from the disease, described her observations and the effects of therapy group she conducted with cancer patients (56). also her gives eloquent examples of the influence of personality and mental activity on overcoming the disease or succumbing to it. She claims that after how he had lived before, what was important and meaningful to him. A.M. Tausch writes:

“Cancer patient Karsten at our group meeting showed up for each time with a thick binder in which he had all available to him

information brochures and newspaper scores on cancer. […] He kept daily notes on his body, wrote down the names of the medications he was taking, recorded his physical ailments and temperature fluctuations, and checked his weight twice daily. He marked even slight deteriorations of his condition with an exclamation mark, and drastic ones with two exclamation marks. Two weeks before his death, he marked them with three exclamation marks. So he devoted the last period of his life to writing about his illness. He hoped to win the hopeless race against the disease. His binder was an expression the despair he had to endure (57).

A.M. Tausch has conducted many group interviews with cancer patients and their relatives. Described by her, as well as by H. Kalliner (58) the results of these conversations, indicate that they are very necessary for these people, they teach them openness and kindness in contacts with other people and enable resolution of interpersonal conflicts and better control of your affective activity.

Psychological interviews with relatives of patients are especially important in children with cancer. J.D. Knispel emphasizes the meaning psychosocial care for children with cancer and their families (5). Parents of these children often experience severe stress due to the disease child, because they are more aware than the child of the consequences to which it can occur bring disease. Therefore, psychological help should cover both the child and his parents.

Psychological care is also needed by many people suffering from the disease cancer even after hospital treatment. This applies, for example, to women after mastectomy (mastectomy). According to research conducted by M. Adamczak (60), these women are characterized by a sense of threat and fear experienced in social situations. Immediately after the procedure, they stay in the unusual conditions of the surgical ward, among sick people, more or less physically mutilated. Hence, the fear of exposing oneself, and especially a distorted figure, is less intense than after leaving the ward and returning to the environment of healthy and fit people.

Disease-related somatic changes result in various forms of combination of fear, aggression and sadness. Psychological help for these people may be necessary (61). Psychocorrection should start right from the moment it is placed diagnosis of cancer, and even more so from the moment of announcing it the patient with this diagnosis. A doctor telling a patient that he has cancer it must do so with great psychological intuition. Every word in it message may be relevant. L. Schwarzenberg rightly notes that that the words “The tests have shown that you have cancer” cause an emotional shock in a patient, but the words “Unfortunately, tests have shown that you have cancer” can already sound like a sentence to him (62).

Some doctors reveal the truth to all patients from the beginning regardless of their age and mental state. This is often disastrous effects on the mental state of the patient. He lives in fear and depression, which, given attention to the psychosomatic connection contributes to faster development cancer. Other doctors, as a rule, do not tell the truth when asserting about the benignity of all cancers, even those that are generally thought to be are considered malicious. This position quickly causes the patient to become ill depression, lack of trust in the doctor and medicine and leads, similarly as the previous method, to fear and despair. The view of G. Mathe, who considers the best solution, seems to be correct indirect. The “degree of truth” should change, according to him, depending on type of cancer, mental state of the patient and his psychological tolerance stress and the possibility of its compensation (63).

The most important thing is not whether the patient is informed about his illness cancerous or not, but whether he is left alone after this information themselves, or provide them with psychological support and professional help psychological.

One cannot agree with the statement of the authors of the textbook for students and doctors entitled Clinical Oncology, who write: “All psychological methods aimed at activating the patient’s will to resist cancer have a tragic side; when the tumor does not regress, the burden of inefficiency lies with the patient (64). The idea that we have no part in the disease, that attributes the origin of the disease only to external factors, and that the treatment depends only on such factors, is perhaps convenient. It is more difficult to accept the idea of personal responsibility. But as F. Capra rightly writes: “However, there can only be responsibility partial. Like the concept of free will, so is the concept of the personal responsibility should be considered in terms of limitations and relativity; nor can any of them be associated with moral values. Recognition own participation in the disease is by no means intended to evoke a feeling guilt, but the preparation of man for certain necessary changes and awareness that everyone can participate in the process of their own treatment (65).

Much still needs to be changed in social awareness, but also in doctors’ attitudes towards cancer. O.C. Simonton states that in the case of the so-called Spontaneous remissions of the disease are accompanied by an equally spontaneous appearance of visualization according to which the person feels healthy. NO he found one among these patients who would not pass through a similar visualizing process’. It could have been a process spiritual, God healing them, across the spectrum of possibilities. Often though in visualization, the patient sees the cancer as some powerful thing and the treatment as something small and weak, which has little effect and hardly notices its own immune mechanism (66).

The real problem arises when the doctor is convinced, as is the patient, that the disease comes from outside, the treatment is ineffective and that the patient can do little or nothing to combat the disease. Therefore, for real progress in the treatment of cancer the right belief system of the patient, his family and the people who care for him are important surround as well as the physician’s proper belief system. The main directions of change in social awareness and attitudes towards the disease cancer and people suffering from cancer.

An important element of self-defense against cancer is a conscious mental attitude. Getting to know the essence of cancer removes the fear of its incurability, contagiousness, heredity, and also creates the possibility of helping yourself even at the stage when cancer has already formed in the body.

Heidelberg scientists, doctors and psychologists have collected a lot of information about subjective theories about cancer, often very naive, but also surprising. About 100 were interviewed patients during visits to internists. The subjects did not have cancer, “deadly”, “incalculable”, “dangerous”, these adjectives patients most often used to describe cancer. It turned out that the equation “cancer = incurable disease = death sentence” commonly works in social consciousness. One 70-year-old civil servant’s wife like this would explain to a child what cancer is: “It’s a huge, disgusting beast, that grabs you with all its talons, of which it has at least ten, and that’s it you’re gone (67).

On negative social beliefs about cancer and the effects of these beliefs the Simonts also write on it (68). They point out that mass media messages contribute significantly to the dissemination of negative ones beliefs. Equally important, therefore, is social control over compliance with the rules protection of the human environment, limiting the possibility of the emergence and development of social pathologies such as alcoholism and drug addiction in general smoking, eliminating industrial pollution, malnutrition, etc., is to shape positive beliefs about cancer. A great role in this is played by the educational and upbringing system. It should direct the implementation of the needs of the charges to achieve cooperation with others instead of competitive activities, developing attitudes instead of domination, it should shape and develop interests, and through a network of cultural and educational institutions, influence the optimization of social interactions among young people. Schools should develop children’s coping skills and self-evaluation skills and enable them to reach all possible intellectual levels (69).

Rightly postulates A.M. Tausch to introduce into schools and into families no not only about health, but also about disease. This way anyone could man discuss the following topics: “How am I supposed to live with the disease? What behaviors make me even more mentally ill? If can i learn to accept it as a part of me? How can I create spiritual healing climate when I am physically ill?(70) At the end of 1985, the Telephone Information was established in Heidelberg about Cancer (Krebsinformationsdienst KID), modeled on Cancer Information (Cancer Information Service CIS) operating at the National Institute Cancer in the United States. Anyone who wants to get some information about cancer can be obtained from doctors and psychologists over the phone information on the causes of the disease, its prevention, early diagnosis, etc.

In Poland, information on fighting cancer can be obtained in the Civic Committee for Fighting Cancer (OKZR) in Warsaw, st. Wawelska 15, tel. +48 228225694. The Civic Committee Against Cancer is a mass organization gathering Poles cured of cancer and all concerned.

Finally, let us say that illness and suffering can also have a positive and even creative dimension. This was beautifully expressed by Krystyna Osińska in her book entitled Creative presence of the sick:

“Illness is a stop in the turmoil of the world and in the chaos of anti-values, a stop for reflection on real values, a stop for choice(71). Therefore, let us perceive sick and suffering people as fully valuable individuals, capable of further development, for whom illness is often what triggers new possibilities and raises them to a higher level. degree of personality development.

Hildegard Knef, German artist, actress and singer (she played, among others, in the film based on the novel by H. Fallady Everyone Dies Alone) She has cancer and has had many surgeries. At the end of his novel, Judgment dedicated to her own experiences, she wrote: “Now let me tell you about beauty: it is everywhere. So is suffering. But both people don’t notice. Perhaps you will see them” (72).


1 Z. Wronkowski, Choroby nowotworowe (w:) Karski J., Słońska Z., Wasilewski B. (red.) 

Promocja Zdrowia, Warszawa 1992. 

2 H.J. Raabe, Dieta przeciw nowotworom. Warszawa 1992. 

5 Z. Wronkowski, op. cit. 

4 I. Prigogine, I. Stengers, Z chaosu ku porządkowi. Warszawa 1990. 

3 R. Klimek, Rak. Warszawa 1985. 

6 Tamże. 

7 R. Klimek, F. Palowski, Przyszłość i medycyna. Warszawa- Kraków 1988. 

8S. Khoury, C. Jaśmin (red.), Prawda o raku. Warszawa 1983. 

9S. Khoury, C. Jaśmin, op.cit.; C.D. Sherman i in. (red), Onkologia kliniczna. Warszawa 


10 Tamże. 

11 S. Khoury, C. Jaśmin, op. cit. 

12 L. Tarlowska (red), Onkologia ginekologiczna. Warszawa 1983. 

13 M. Pawlikowski (red), Zarys endokrynologii klinicznej. Warszawa 1992. 

14 C.D. Sherman i in., op.cit. 

15 J. Aleksandrowicz, Nie ma nieuleczalnie chorych. Łódź 1987. 

16 Tamże. 

17 Tamże. 

18 H.S. Roobe, op. cit. 

19 W. Jasiński, Zasady programowania walki z nowotworami. Wrocław 1979; J. Aleksand¬ 

rowicz. oo.cit.; H.J. Raabe, op.cit., A. Bernard (red), Świat o raku. Warszawa 1989. 

20 V.A. Gheorgiu, Sugestia. Warszawa 1987. i 

21 H. Selye, Stres żyda. Warszawa 1963; H. Selye, Stres okiełznany. Warszawa 1978. 

22 O.C. Simonton, S. Matthews-Simonton, System przekonań a kierowanie emocjonalny 

aspektami złośliwych chorób nowot worowych. „Nowiny Psychologiczne” 1989, nr 1, s. 31-4.‘ 

23 Tamże. 

24 A. Bernard, op.dt. 

25 Tamże 

27 R. Klimek, M. Pawlikowski, Neuroendokrynologia kliniczna. Warszawa 1973; G. Mathe, 

Rak. Warszawa 1980. ‘ 

21 G. Mathe, op.cit. 

29 A. Anders, H.J. Altheide, Rak, powstawanie i zapobieganie. Warszawa 1990. 

30 Tamże. 

31 F Canra Punkt zwrotny Warszawa 1QR7 

32 K. Wrześniewski, Czynniki psychologiczne a zdrowie (w:) J. Karski, Z. Słońska, 

B. Wasilewski (red), Promocja zdrowia. Warszawa 1992. 

33 O.C. Simonton, S. Matthews-Simonton, op. cit. 

34 A. Bernard, op. cit. 

35 H.J. Raabe, op.cit. 

37 A. Bernard, op.cit. 

38 R. Klimek, op. dt. 

39F. Zorn, Mars. Warszawa 1992. 

40 Tamże, s. 84. 

41 Z. Wronkowski, op. cit. 

42 R. Klimek, op. cit. 

43 A. Anders, H.J. Altheide, op.cit. 

44 F. Zom, op.cit., s. 15. 

45 Tamże. 

46 A. Bernard, op.cit., s. 23. 

47 H.J. Raabe, op.cit., s. 10. 

52 Patrz: J. Aleksandrowicz, S. Cwynar, A. Szyszko-Bohusz, Relaks. Warszawa 1976. 

53 Patrz: K. Kopczyński, Zainteresowania i poczucie własnej wartości u młodych osób po 

próbie samobójczej (w:) „Zdrowie Psychiczne” 1993, nr 1-2, s.107. 

54 S. Gerstman, Podstawy psychologii konkretnej. Warszawa 1987. 

55 O.C. Simonton, S. Matthews-Simonton, op. cit. 

“ A.M. Tausch, Gesprache gegen die Angst. 1981. 

57 Tamże, s. 17-18. ,H. Kalliner, Essekte personencentrierter Gruppengesprahe mit Krebsbetrossen und Angehoringen. Hamburg 1981. 

59 D. Knispel, Leitfaden fur eine klinikgebundene systematische psychosoziale Versorgung 

krebskranker Kinder und ihrer Familien. Hamburg 1988. 

60 M. Adamczak, Wybrane procesy poznawcze i emocjonalne u kobiet po mastektomii. 

Poznań 1988. 

61 M. Adamczak, op. cit.; E.Ch. Buhrmester, Zur psychosozialen Versorgung von Tumorpatienten Konzeptioneller Ansatz und empirische Bedarfsanalyse. Hamburg 1987; A.M. Tausch, 

op. cit. 

62 S. Khoury, C. Jaśmin, op. cit. 

63 G. Mathe, op. Cit. 

M C.D. Sherman i in., op. cit. 

65 F. Capra, op. cit., s. 450. 

66. O.C. Simonton, S. Matthews-Simonton, op. Cit. 

67 A. Bernard, op. cit. 

61 O.C. Simonton, S. Matthewws-Simonton, J.L. Creifhton, op. cit. 

69 B. Hołyst, Rola higieny psychicznej w promowaniu zdrowia (w:) J. Karski, Z. Słońska, 

B. Wasilewski (red), op. cit. 

70 A.M. Tausch, op. cit., s. 19. 

71 K. Osińska, Twórcza obecność chorych. Warszawa 1983, s.186. 

Kazimierz Kopczyński
In my scientific and popularization activities , as well as teaching, I preach the idea of a holistic approach to Man, Earth and the Universe. I am an enthusiast of ecophilosophy, which points to the spiritual and aesthetic dimension of Nature. I am currently a researcher at Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce and at the Higher School of National Economy in Kutno. I graduated from the department of psychology at the University of Lodz, specialty- clinical psychology. I am a graduate of postgraduate studies in Geology at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Ecology and Environmental Protection at the University of Lodz, , Medical Law, Bioethics and Medical Sociology at the University of Warsaw , and Geriatrics and Long-Term Care at the Jagiellonian University. I am a member of the Polish Botanical Society, the Polish Mycological Society, the Polish Copernicus Society of Naturalists and the Polish Suicidological Society.