University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Researchers Find Emotional Well-Being Has No Influence on Cancer Survival

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that emotional well-being is not an independent factor affecting the prognosis of patients with head and neck cancers. This study appears in the December 1st issue of CANCER. “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,” says James C. Coyne, PhD, Co-Leader, Cancer Control and Outcomes Program, Abramson Cancer Center; Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Penn; and lead author of the study. “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.”

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