The Immune System, Cancer and Chronic Illness
The discovery of Cancer is dated back to Hippocrates and even ancient Egypt. And yet, with all of our modern technological might we are still unable to pin down the actual cause of this disease, at least not from a medical perspective.
Triggers which may make a person more susceptible to contracting cancer such as the diet or the environment have been identified, but the fact remains that many people exposed to the same triggers do not become ill.
Many of us will have heard stories of a person’s mother or grandfather etc. who smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol every day and lived to a grand old age. We may even be the child or grandchild of such a person. “It never did me any harm,” they may tell us.
Of course the role of genetics seems to play a part in the development of certain cancers but could we take this notion further. Could this be the fact that a person inherits a certain mindset from family members as well as certain genes? Maybe I will explore that idea at a later date…
I of course do not have all the answers and my aim is not to create controversy, I am just fascinated in exploring all the possibilities that may lead to ill health – be they more abstract psychological factors or well documented medically proven factors.
Perhaps the question that needs to be asked is not what makes a person more susceptible to illness but what makes a person maintain their good health?
The Immune System
The immune system is the body’s very own form of natural defense. When you see pus in a cut or wound this is your immune system at work. White blood cells have been sent ‘en masse’ by the immune system to the area that needs to fight infection. It occurs as an entirely natural response.
This ‘healing’ takes place naturally and regularly on other parts of our bodies, internal and external. So maybe it is possible that all of us come under the attack of abnormal cancerous cells from time to time but that some of us fight off and destroy these cells because our immune systems are functioning at optimal levels?
The immune system is such a powerful system for healing. We see its ability to fight and reject during organ transplant operations. When we talk of organs being rejected after a heart or kidney transplant operation this is the immune system at work. The immune system recognizes a foreign body so to speak and rejects it as not being a part of the natural system.
The possibility is that all of us are exposed to abnormal cellular activity from time to time and that our body’s immune systems naturally destroy them. In the case of chronic disease and cancer is it therefore possible that the immune system has become inhibited in some way?
Could the cause of this suppression of the immune system be chronic stress? Chronic worry? The inability to express our true needs? The inability to be assertive?
What Science Says?
A 1999 study by JK Kiecolt-Glaser and R Glaser of the Department of Psychiatry, Ohio State University College of Medicine entitled ‘Psychoneuroimmunology and cancer: fact or fiction?’ looked at the mind body connection link and concluded:
These studies and others suggest that psychological or behavioral factors may influence the incidence or progression of cancer through psychosocial influences on immune function and other physiological pathways.
The mind body link to illness is something we at least need to consider.
In times of illness, do you ever consider using the power of your mind and thoughts for healing?
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