cancer treatment and recovery

Overcoming Cancer & Your Subconscious Mind

In this new training video, we explore the connection between our Mind and the body’s Immune System. Whether you’re in the thick of treatment or in remission, learn what you can do to engage with and enhance the functioning of your body’s defense system.

Thankfully, we live in a day and age where the mind and body connection is a scientific fact. This means more medical facilities recognize there is more to treating cancer than treating the body; they must also treat the person within this body.

If this training resonates with you, there is more for you to explore.


No Chemotherapy Treatment

Can We Treat Cancer Without Chemo?

One of the most common questions I receive during consultations is whether we can treat cancer without chemotherapy. As we are currently in 2023, medical advancements have turned this idea from a New Age concept to a medical reality, with treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted therapies.

Given all the information we have heard about chemotherapy and its possible side effects, naturally, we are interested in learning about any alternatives that may allow us to avoid going to the chemo suite.

According to medical statistics, it is claimed that in the US, half of all women and one-third of all men will develop cancer during their lifetime. As a result, there is an increasing need and interest in less aggressive treatment options.

What Dr. Google Says (What a Google Search Produces)

A quick online search for the answer to Can we treat cancer without chemo produced some brow-raising results. One site promises 5-Minute Breakthrough Treatments; another offers No Chemo No Radiation – Science-Based Integrative Care, and even newspapers like The New York Times weigh in with an article about a Dr. who chose a different path.

Now, it is true that some people who overcame cancer did so without chemotherapy or medical treatment. It’s also true that more cancer patients survive cancer today than at any other time in history with the aid of medical treatment. So, what are we to make of this?

Thankfully, more treatment options are available nowadays, and treatments like immunotherapy and genetic-based therapies offer some patients a way to avoid the dreaded chemo. Adding to that are adjunct Mind-Body therapies like Hypnotherapy for Cancer that aim to achieve similar goals.

For many of my clients, the chemo choice greatly depends on their beliefs about medicine.

What a Client Said

One of my “success case” clients, who opted for no chemo or radiation, stated another significant factor in her decision to decline those options. For her, the deciding factor was the information available about possible benefits versus the likelihood of life/career-changing short- or long-term side effects. In most cases, Surgeons and Oncologists only talk about it if you do research and/or ask them about it directly.

The Role of Beliefs

Throughout my 22 years of experience in the cancer community, I have observed that clients raised in households where doctors were highly regarded often opt for chemotherapy and medical treatments. On the other hand, those from families with a negative perception of medicine and healthcare are more inclined to consider alternative therapies.

A Hybrid Treatment Plan

Ultimately, the decision is yours to make based on your personal beliefs and preferences. From my standpoint, there is a potential for finding a middle ground that incorporates the benefits of traditional medicine alongside complementary treatments.

Your Needs Matter

When making a decision, prioritize your own needs. It’s common for loved ones to offer their opinions, whether in support or opposition, but ultimately it’s up to you to choose the path that feels right. Whether you’re undergoing chemotherapy or exploring alternative options, it’s important to make a decision that brings you peace.

Cancer Trauma PTSD

Can the Trauma of Cancer Ever Heal?

From diagnosis to treatment and survivorship, facing cancer means addressing more than just the physical burden of medical treatment; it often means experiencing mental and emotional distress. 

Call it Trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); many patients struggle to shake off all this turmoil after treatment ends. They seek support as they work to define their new ‘normal’ – wonder if their Trauma will never truly heal.

Facing an illness such as cancer is complicated. Our unique life experiences, medical history, and biology mean this simple question has no simple answer. 

How can cancer cause Trauma or PTSD?

Even though more patients survive cancer today than at any other time in history, mortality is still a possible outcome. Cancer, therefore, is still associated with a death sentence. Receiving a life-threatening diagnosis can be a catalyst for an existential crisis and cause a great deal of pain, fear, helplessness, and hopelessness.

Any of the items below can be the cause of Trauma or PTSD:

  • Learning you have cancer
  • Waiting for test or scan results
  • Receiving upsetting test results
  • Extended hospital stays or treatments
  • Follow-up visits with your doctor/hospital
  • Cancer recurrence or fear of its return

As a cancer and trauma recovery coach, I aim to help my clients address the nonphysical aspects of their illnesses. That can be accomplished in several ways.

The first is to use tools like Hypnotherapy to resolve the mental and psychological patterns research has indicated inhibit the body’s immune response, such as stress, helplessness, and hopelessness. 

The second is to help them restore their sense of self, regain trust in their bodies, become more resilient, and cultivate a powerful mindset and identity as survivors and thrivers. 

How Can Trauma or PTSD be Resolved?

If you’re like many of my clients, you’re likely familiar with the mainstream approach to healing Trauma in the form of psychological counseling, medication, support groups, etc. These are valuable, and I hope you get something out of these strategies.

In case you tried those but didn’t get the results you were hoping for, it might be because none of the above strategies addresses the root of the problem. Talk therapy and group therapy depend on communication i.e. your conscious mind and thought process. That’s the domain of your conscious mind, the logical and rational part of your mind. 

Emotions, however, stem from the other part of our mind, called the subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind is our emotional mind. It’s also the part of the mind that governs many bodily functions, like digestion or body temperature. In part, the subconscious mind also influences the functioning of our immune system.

Clinical Hypnotherapy for Emotional Relief.

Psychotherapy primarily engages the conscious mind; Hypnotherapy primarily engages the subconscious mind. It can offer faster and more significant relief from emotional Trauma and PTSD.

As a cancer and trauma recovery coach, the closest to a clear-cut answer I can offer is that we may not entirely resolve our challenges, but we can become “larger” than them.

cancer wellness and recovery

Shifting Into Healing Cancer

Cancer – Shifting into Healing

Have you ever heard of people healing themselves from cancer, even in its late stages? If you have, you may be wondering how they managed to achieve this. And more importantly, you may be asking yourself how you can do the same.

Regardless of your diagnosis and whether or not you are currently undergoing treatment, to be able to fully support your body’s healing and recovery, you need to take control of your mind.

What Does it Mean to Shift?

There is a saying that “Consciousness is the one and only reality. Consciousness is the cause, reality, and its expression” In other words, our current state of mind determines our experience.

If our current experience is undesirable and we want to experience a greater state of well-being, we need to make an adjustment to our state of mind, to shift. Think of it this way, healing involves shifting our point of attention, and our perspective.

According to the dictionary, shifting refers to a minor change in position, direction, or tendency. However, when it comes to healing and recovery from cancer, it means shifting one state of mind to another, for instance, from fear into confidence, despair to joy. Once you ‘shift’ the quality of that state of mind or emotions, they can no longer negatively impact your experience and biology.

Change Impact Biology

When we first heard those three powerful words, “You Have Cancer,” in that instant, our whole world came tumbling down. We may not have been aware of this, but these words impacted every aspect of our lives.

For example, our identity changed from being healthy to someone facing cancer, a patient, or a sick person. Our day-to-day routine, career path, family dynamics, and responsibilities have all changed as well.

According to the dictionary, the word change means to replace one thing with another. If you’re like many of my clients, unbeknownst to you, this change caused a shift in your relationship with yourself and your understanding of yourself.

Shifting into Healing

The key to helping our body heal lies in our consciousness. Our experiences are shaped by the stories we tell ourselves, and by changing our beliefs and perceptions, we can change the way we experience things. While things may happen to us, it is up to us to decide their meaning.

If you perceive illness as a form of punishment if you believe it to be difficult and painful, you won’t be wrong but this stance has negative consequences. A negative mental and emotional state (inner state) signals the brain to produce and disperse a certain kind of chemistry into the bloodstream, one akin to stress or fight or flight. This kind of chemistry is not conducive to healing and recovery.

On the other hand, if you perceive illness as a call to action, a call to upgrade your understanding of yourself, your relationship with yourself, and your goal or purpose in life, you signal your brain to produce and disperse a kind of chemistry into your bloodstream akin to vitality and well-being.

A practical way to shift our state of mind is to use our mental faculties and emotions. The secret of feeling is the secret of making the invisible, visible… think about it, it’s how we’ve always done things.

Generally speaking, we will only do what we feel like doing…we will not take action unless we want to, so desire and feelings are prerequisites to everything in our lives… including our health…

Shut Down Your Senses

I said that consciousness is the one and only reality, so here I’m inviting you to close your eyes for a second… and use your mental faculties, in this case imagination to assume the emotion of having attained the thing desired. If you want to be healthy, how would it feel to have the experience of being healthy? How would you feel if you knew with absolute certainty that you are now cancer free, and healthy? That there’s no evidence of illness?

We are only paying attention to that which we are aware of… when was the last time you thought about your spleen? Or your shoulders?

Invest Your Thoughts and Emotions Wisely

We either invest our thoughts or spend our thoughts… we either invest our energy or spend it… and when we’re worried and in fear, we’re spending our thoughts… when we’re shifting into the quality of the desired experience, we’re investing our energy.

Ultimately, the only malleable part of our inner healing equation is our awareness of being, our consciousness.

Thriving with cancer - a Client's Testimonial

Thriving with Cancer – A Client’s Testimonial

Thriving With Cancer

Paul Gilbert

How I transformed my mindset to maximize healing before, during, and after treatment

“I have bad news.” First time I heard those words, my heart skipped a beat. The second time was more of a kick in the balls, a mix of disbelief and agony. When a doctor says, “you’ve got cancer,” you know your world won’t be the same again — I’d just been presented with lifetime membership to a club I never wanted to join.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2019 and one of the first things my doctor told me is that it’s actually a “good cancer” (words I’d never put together) because if discovered early, it’s highly treatable. It’s true, there are far worse types of cancer, but it still felt like my body had betrayed me. I was 63, which my doctors called young, ate well, exercised and didn’t drink or smoke. Cancer? WTF!

Given a choice of surgery or radiation, I dove into research. Turns out the web is a Pandora’s Box of information and misinformation. As someone who prides himself on being a practical, take-charge type who’s highly competent at solving personal and professional problems, that self-image took a blow. No matter where I looked, the side-effects were alarming, and the outcome would be out of my control. And denial wasn’t a treatment option.

Being a private person, I only shared the news with a few close friends. There was a huge hole in my own inner circle, as both of my brothers had been diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia. One had passed and the other was just a shell of the person I once knew. So, the two men I was closest to (we spoke 2–3 times a week), had disappeared and that sense of loss and grief felt even more acute now.

I was fortunate that my wife was there to support me every step of the way, but I didn’t want to burden her with every daunting detail or frighten our kids with the specter of their father being really sick. It was hard enough dealing with the diagnosis on my own, as I didn’t want to admit to them, or to myself, how scared I was. So, I swallowed a lot of that fear, and my stomach churned with cerebral indigestion.

Under The Robot’s Knife

In April, I underwent a radical prostatectomy at the UCSF Medical Center. It was done by a world-renowned surgeon using a robotic machine called the Da Vinci, operated from ten feet away using three-dimensional, high-definition video, like some kind of space-age Xbox. That night, plodding along the halls of the hospital like a zombie, my wife firmly holding my arm, I knew I’d survived a battle, but was literally wounded to the core. It also marked the beginning of two weeks of using a catheter and feeling pissed off took on a whole new meaning.

Tests showed the cancer had been confined to the capsule, so I assumed my treatment was done. Life might not go back to exactly as before, but some of the anxiety and uncertainty that had been my constant companions lifted. Other than a small scar on my abdomen, no one would know I’d had an operation that could permanently affect my plumbing and sexual function. It took time to heal my physical body and for the mental and emotional trauma to subside, but I was content being a cancer survivor and became one of the lucky ones who had a full recovery.

Actually, turns out I wasn’t so lucky, because in April 2021, a routine PSA blood test showed evidence of a recurrence. I wasn’t told at the time of surgery that a third of men with prostate cancer will need salvage radiation therapy later on. Not aware of this, I hadn’t worried, so I was floored when I found out. It felt like my body had turned on me again and a Vincent Price-ish voice of gloom reminded me of my mortality. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of all cancer deaths — a statistic that hovered in the back of my mind like a loitering Grim Reaper.

The first step in pre-treatment was a PSMA, a highly-sophisticated PET scan, to try to pinpoint our target. I was injected with radioactive isotopes (you know something is up when it arrives in a lead box) and iodine to help locate the cancer cells, but nothing showed up. They were there somewhere, but too small to see. Given my options of doing nothing, while monitoring my PSA levels or immediately starting hormone therapy and radiation treatment, I hesitated. Going through forced man-opause and radiating my body without knowing the exact location of the cancer didn’t make sense, like carpet bombing versus radar-guided missiles.

So, I waited, and over the next 15 months, I had four more scans, each showing no sign of cancer. The good news was it was microscopic; the bad news was that the disease wasn’t adapting to my battle plan. I was fortunate to have a great medical team, and I did join a prostate cancer support group, where the members provided very useful information and encouragement. But sharing my story made me feel less than whole, as, like many men, one of my weaknesses is not being able to admit to any weakness. Those cancer wrist bracelets always use the word Strong.

Covering All the Bases

Meanwhile, I discussed nutrition, supplements, exercise, acupuncture, and meditation with my integrative oncologist. I tried all kinds of holistic modalities, such as energy work, sound healing, and CBD. And leaving no stone unturned, I even visited a shaman in Baja, Mexico.

Acupuncture was very helpful in balancing my system. The energy work was done over the phone with someone using his intuition to release blockages. Interesting process didn’t feel any changes. The sound therapy was pleasant and put me to sleep, and a CBD tincture had no discernible impact. But an occasional hit of its cousin, THC cannabis, and an everyday challenge can take on an ever-so-slight shift towards more bearable or enjoyable, counteracting the constant undercurrent of dis-ease (and increasing the desire for a chocolate chip cookie). In my book, all of these, including the cookie, constitute medicine.

High on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the shaman, a gentle soul dressed all in white, blessed me, cleansed my body with sage, and called on the spirits to help me heal. Like a dramatic movie scene, there was an overwhelming sensation of natural forces at work and a feeling of profound gravitas. Given all the modalities I’d already sought out, I was fully open to adding some potent mojo to my list of medications. Can’t get a Rx for magic at CVS.

Put Me In, Coach

Even though my PSA level was low, and we still couldn’t see the cancer on the scans, I was running out of time and needed to make a decision, rather than risk the cancer spreading to my bones or organs. Not taking action meant I didn’t have to endure hormone therapy and radiation right away, but waiting might lead to a lifetime of treatment or even a death sentence. Eventually, I realized the most judicious move was to combine the best of modern and traditional therapies.

But I also wanted to be an active participant in the process. Preparing for six months of conventional treatment, I did a web search on mind-body medicine and cancer and found Avinoam Lerner, a clinical hypnotherapist and cancer & trauma recovery specialist in Boston. Despite the distance, I figured I had nothing to lose, except money, to learn about using my mind to aid in my healing journey. At times, we need experts and mentors to help us develop new skills, and being a life-long athlete who had also worked in professional sports, I recognized the value of having a cancer coach.

I flew east for three days of intensive one-on-one sessions. In a cozy, light-filled office, the comfort of a cushioned chair, water, and energy bars within reach, it felt as if I was preparing for a triathlon. My coach was a former soldier in the Israeli army and had a no-nonsense aura about him, like an empathetic drill sergeant in a cancer boot camp. Using hypnosis and self-hypnosis, we got down in the trenches together, getting me ready for the battle of my life. Actually, the battle for my life.

It was grueling work, but as we pushed through my defenses and long-held beliefs that I brought to cancer treatment, I discovered while my medical team was treating my physical body, it was my job to take care of the person within my body. That meant taking ownership and responsibility for how I think and feel. Rather than falling down a rabbit hole of victimhood, helplessness and hopelessness, I needed to envision the best scenarios and results in every stage of treatment. I had to confront my demons, declare my willingness to change, acknowledge my resilience, and believe I deserved every chance to heal.

I followed up with my coach’s 8-week online course, which was more goal-oriented and result driven with practical tools such as writing exercises (including daily gratitude journaling), self-hypnosis, and meditations for surgery, chemo, or radiation treatments. Neuroscientists are studying how cognitive thought affects nerve cells and tumors, and research into the benefits of psychoneuroimmunology has shown that going into any medical procedure in the right state of mind will yield fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery rate, even overall better outcomes.

Most importantly, I reclaimed some sense of control by retraining my brain to think positively. Negative thoughts repress the body’s immune system — the goal is to recognize these old voices and deactivate them using a constructive mindset. When my inner critic says, “You’re not going to beat this cancer,” my inner ally responds with, “I’m living life fully and sticking around!” Ironic that letting go of the outside elements I can’t control has helped me gain more command of my inner world.

Make Up Your Mind

Now, when I wake up and before I go to sleep, I write about the large and small things I’m grateful for. I practice self-hypnosis and visit an emotional control room to acknowledge any angst, and dial it down. Lying below the linear accelerator, which slowly rotates like a space station as it emits computer-guided external beam radiation, I listen to hard-driving classic rock and visualize cancer cells being zapped by drones. When swimming laps, I see giant waves washing the cancer out to sea. This all would have sounded silly to me before I gained this new sense of self-awareness, but now, it makes me feel powerful when I’m at my most vulnerable.

Is my whole-istic approach to cancer treatment working? I do have hormonal side effects, such as hot flashes. I’ll be reading in my chair and suddenly, need to start peeling off clothes, my internal thermostat going haywire. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is history, I’ve gained a little weight and with less testosterone, my libido has gone on a sabbatical. I also have body aches and radiation fatigue. But these are all temporary conditions, and I keep reminding myself the long-range forecast calls for clear skies.

Yes, there will be moments when life gets messy and the “why me?” sneaks in. But I’ve learned that a serious illness can have a silver lining, where it becomes a rite of passage, a matter of self-transformation. Seeing certain patterns that had become my identity, there’s a strategic battle to choose which ones I wanted to keep and which I wanted to change. It’s an ongoing tug-of-war, but during this crisis, I’ve become more like the person I wished I could be. Cancer has humbled me, opened my heart, and made me more human.

Approaching the finish line in my second round of treatment, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. However, one word my doctors don’t use is “cure.” Each time I get a PSA test, the ideal result will be “no current evidence of disease.” Yet my goal isn’t to merely survive; it’s living with the energy and intention of thriving. In addition to ridding my body of these malignant cells, my deeper purpose is to feel more grateful, peaceful, joyful, and loving. Daily doses of these elixirs are the strongest medicine in my cabinet.

And there’s also one special remedy in my back pocket. I can always FaceTime with my shaman.

Cancer Coach Avinoam Lerner

What Does a Cancer Coach Do?

What Does a Cancer Coach Do?

In this post, I want to talk about what is a Cancer Coach and what it is not because the very definition of this service relatively new practice or service that depends on the setting in which it is offered.

For example, in a clinical setting, a cancer coach is a person who can help you to set up your medical appointments, sort out your medications, and even speak with your medical provider on your behalf.

In a more holistic sense, a cancer coach can be a person who helps you improve your lifestyle and change your diet or exercise routine, and many patients benefit from making these changes in their lives.

You are all set if these are your goals; these services will certainly do. If you understand that there’s more to illness than just the physical symptoms it displays, that it’s a whole-person event, you need a different type of coaching.

In this case, you need a coach or a coaching program that will focus on YOU, the person within the physical body. You need a coach that will focus on your experiences and mind, i.e., thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs.

Of course, we must treat the physical body, where the crisis is, and that’s what your medical team does. However, the physical body is only one part of the healing equation. To treat the whole person, you must also treat the mind. Failing to do so, we can only expect partial results, partial recovery, and reoccurrence, which is not good enough.

So, what is Cancer Coaching?

Cancer coaching is an innovative service that provides people facing cancer education, support, and practical skills development to help meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

A cancer coach recognizes there is much more to cancer than only what the doctors can see, measure or touch. Therefore, the journey toward healing and recovery must include more than only what happens during visits with your medical doctor.

The kind of coaching I do, offer you practical and effective strategies to break through fear and isolation, strengthen your will to live, improve your quality of life, and help you regain a sense of control over your experience. My work is grounded in the scientific study of Psychoneuroimmunology or PNI.

My goal as your coach is to lead you out of the dark forest of fear and the unknown so you can see the way to a promising healing future, to a place where you can remember this truth: While you may be with the illness, you are not your illness.

Why Hire a Cancer Coach

It’s important to understand you hire a cancer coach not because you don’t know what you need to do and not because you lack the skills to do the necessary work. Like many of my clients, you are probably well-read, well-informed, and capable; that is not it.

You hire a cancer coach because you want someone in your corner who will support you and hold you accountable, helping ensure you do the things you know are good for you to get the desired results. This way, you can get your health and life back on track.

Knowledge is Not Enough

Knowledge is undoubtedly powerful, necessary, and meaningful, but it does not lead to results; only actions lead to results. That is why you want someone like me in your life, to help you take action and hold you accountable so you can get your results. In the context of cancer, this means greater resilience, hope, quality of life, and a state of mind conducive to recovery.

The second point is to hire a cancer coach when you feel overwhelmed or perhaps stuck or helpless. You employ a cancer coach when you feel alone or do not wish to burden loved ones with your fears, frustrations, wants, and aspirations.

Knowledge does not lead to results; only actions lead to results. When Cancer Coaching May Not Be for You

When Cancer Coaching May Not Be for You

Having said that, please consider that cancer coaching may not be for you because it is not for everyone. I am saying that not because of cost or lack of time to implement or do the work you need, nothing like that. It may not be for everyone because not everyone is ready or committed to following through. Hiring a coach for the sake of calming your loved one’s anxiety does not make any sense. You only hire a coach when you are ready to act and turn things around.

If you are ready to act, use the blue button at the bottom of the right-hand corner to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. This consultation aims to give you clarity and offer you a viable action plan so you can thrive.

I am excited about what is possible for you and hope you are too.

emotions and cancer

How to Fight Cancer Emotionally

At first glance, this notion of fighting cancer with emotions may seem way off-target. After all, we fight cancer with medicine and medical treatment. But our body and mind are not separate systems; they are one integrated system.

Think of sensations like pain or pleasure; they have correlating emotional states. In the same way, thoughts like sadness or joy differ in the body.

emotions and cancer

So, what do emotions have to do with fighting cancer? A lot. Surprising as this answer may be, it is Science that indicates so, not some alternative or New Age theory. The Science I refer to is the scientific field of study called PsychoNeuroImmunology or PNI.

PNI investigates the correlation between specific mental and psychological patterns like stress, helplessness, and hopelessness and the functioning of our immune system. This is especially meaningful when fighting cancer because it is ultimately the job of our immune system to eliminate any abnormalities in the blood.

And if recognizing that our body and mind are integrated brings about some difficult emotions like guilt, shame, or self-blame, please note this isn’t the point I’m here to make. I’ve been working with and supporting cancer patients for over 20 years now. Throughout this time, I’ve never met anyone who intentionally made themselves sick or wished to be sick.

Body Mind Connection & Fighting Cancer

The reality is there are numerous biological processes that we’re unaware of, yet they impact our bodies and biology. For example, we’re not in control over our body’s temperature, digestion, or heartbeats or aware of these events. These events are happening beneath the surface of our awareness, and they are governed by the part of our mind we call the subconscious mind.

If you ever had a cut, or held something hot and got a burn, or even if you broke a bone in your body, it was not by a conscious effort that your body has fought infections or healed.

So, what does that have to do with emotions and fighting cancer? Again, a lot.

Fighting Cancer Emotionally

Studies about stress have indicated that 75% of all doctor visits in the US are due to stress-related illnesses. Adding to this, PNI data that showed how stress diminishes the body’s immune response, and we have a clear first step in optimizing our experience and strengthening the functioning of our immune system, curbing our level of stress.

Stress & Immune Function

There are two main reasons why we stress out. First, we perceive a situation to be difficult, dangerous, or painful. The second reason is we do not believe we have the inner resources to cope with that situation.

Both perception and belief are mental faculties and, therefore, within our realm of control.

If we can learn how to mobilize our inner resources and mental faculties like perceptions and beliefs, we will ally with the body and support the medical campaign our medical team is conducting.

Want to learn how to do that? Check out the Mindful Remission Online Coaching Program, or take advantage of the free consultation option by using the blue button at the bottom right corner of this page.


EFT for cancer anxiety

How to Stop Cancer Anxiety?

Feeling anxious when receiving a cancer diagnosis or undergoing treatment is understandable, even expected. Whether it’s about treatment-related side effects, cancer spreading, or returning after treatment has ended, whether it’s about losing our independence, our support system, relationships, etc.

In the dictionary, anxiety is described as feeling nervous, worried, and on edge. These normal and common emotions help us cope with what our brain defines as a threat. After all, an illness such as cancer which we label as life-threatening, is exactly that, a threat.

Symptoms of Cancer Anxiety

There is no one-size-fits-all when coping with anxiety, yet many of my clients shared similar experiences. Some reported physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, sweaty palms, or a racing heart. Others talked about emotional symptoms such as panic, fear, dread, and worry.

Regardless of your particular symptoms, think of anxiety as an outcome. It’s the outcome of your mind and body trying to process your experience.

Cancer Anxiety in Survivors

And cancer anxiety is not exclusive to the duration of treatment; survivors often struggle with it as well.

For cancer survivors, anxiety may stem from and relate to their state of health. In this case, every ache and pain may trigger their fear that cancer will return. This may include being highly alert to any possible physical symptoms, extreme focus on their cancer status, and requesting medical tests and visits with their doctor more often or earlier than needed.

So, what can we do to minimize or even resolve cancer anxiety?

In this blog post, I want to share one particular practice with a great many benefits. This one practice has helped many of my clients get relief and is known as Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT.

EFT and Cancer Anxiety

EFT is a safe and easy-to-use self-help method based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The practice combines a gentle touch with mindful attention to thoughts and feelings.

Think of EFT as a form of “emotional acupuncture” or “mindful acupressure” that involves the stimulation of specific points along the face and body. Instead of using needles (as in acupuncture), EFT uses a technique of gentle tapping on these various acupressure points located on the face, hands, and body.

EFT also uses verbalization. It involves verbalizing the “issue” we want to focus on and experience relief for. The verbalization and tapping seem to release the intensity or charge of the “issue” we tap on.

Why is EFT Affective

This is a long answer, so to keep this post short, let me use the analogy of noise cancellation technology.

If every emotion we feel has a frequency, we will use EFT to generate the equal but opposite frequency (through tapping and verbalizing) that will cancel it. I will admit this can be a vague explanation, but for now, it’s a good start. You can learn more about EFT HERE

If you seek relief from anxiety and wish to learn more about EFT and how it can support you, reach out to me via my CONTACT PAGE, and I’ll be happy to share more.

Cancer PTSD

Cancer PTSD

Facing a cancer diagnosis and all the change that follows can be daunting. We were never taught how to process and cope with any life-threatening illness, especially cancer. The result of being so unprepared for this physical, mental, and emotional injury is Cancer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD.

What is Cancer PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it (Mayo Clinic). Think of PTSD as an anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as life-threatening events. In cancer treatment, all of the above are present. One main symptom of Cancer PTSD is living in a heightened state of awareness about every ache and pain, fearing recurrence, and anticipating the worse.

Talk Therapy for Cancer

According to clients who’ve been seeing a therapist for years, conventional therapy offers little or no relief. This kind of therapy primarily engages the logical part of our mind (conscious mind) and not the emotional one (subconscious mind). Read More Here.

When fear, despair, shock, and overwhelm hijack our experience, it’s almost impossible to contemplate being on the other side of treatment. But if we want to rebuild our lives, we should acknowledge the injury we suffered and be prepared to address it.

The (Limited) Blessings of Medicine

More people survive their cancer diagnosis today than at any other time in history due to the miracles of medicine. This kind of blessing forces us to look beyond treatment. We don’t simply want to survive cancer; we want to thrive during and after treatment.

Having worked with and supported cancer patients for over twenty years, I know cancer PTSD is a real challenge for many. Treatment may have ended, but living in a body we feel betrayed by; means living in conflict, in a constant state of hypervigilance.

Before a Cancer Diagnosis

Before diagnosis and treatment, yes, there were plenty of aches and pains in our bodies, but we never gave them too much attention. Now, however, the slightest unpleasant sensation in our body can send us spiraling down into panic. So, what do we do? We take a more goal-oriented approach to address the root cause of Cancer PTSD. CLICK HERE for more info on a couple of ways to do that.

Now that’s just dealing with our body; what about dealing with our mind and emotions? Cancer PTSD isn’t exclusive to either the body or the mind. It takes over our whole self.

Many of my clients’ first response to hearing those three powerful words “You Have Cancer,” was emotional. They describe a state of shock and feeling numb. The numbness they felt defused the moment’s intensity, but its effect took hold and changed us.

If you understand that and want to include more in your treatment plan than what simply happens at your doctor’s office, these programs may be for you. CLICK HERE for more details.

Cancer and Trauma

Cancer and Trauma

The connection between cancer diagnosis with trauma isn’t clear from the get-go. And since medical personnel are unlikely to talk about emotional injury, many will never seek support.

Before hearing these three powerful words, “You Have Cancer,” you were someone’s father, mother, son, or daughter; you had hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The moment those words reach your ears, everything changes. You are now a cancer patient.

Change = Trauma

I’ve written about the shock of cancer diagnosis, the sense of helplessness and hopelessness that creeps in when facing a life-threatening illness. I’ve written about fear, anxiety, and despair. The one thing that is less talked about is the impact or injury we struggle with, the trauma of cancer, which is both deep and wide.

Change, especially a change to our state of health, can be debilitating. Change is no laughing matter, yet it is said that the only people who like change are busy cashiers or babies with dirty diapers. Laughing aside, change can be overwhelming and disorienting.

When you think about it, a cancer diagnosis forces us to become very comfortable with change. The most obvious change is to our identity, from a healthy person to someone who is sick. Then there’s a change to our daily routine due to appointments and procedures. We experience a change in our mobility, productivity, and what we can and can no longer do.

You may not call this level of change injury or trauma, but that’s exactly what we’re facing.

What is Trauma?

According to Psychology Today, Trauma is a person’s emotional response to a distressing experience.

And the reason this is important for us to know is because trauma, if unresolved, can further diminish our resiliency. It can undermine our ability to benefit from treatment and heal.

If you’ve seen any of my recent videos, you heard me state that illness is a call to action. It is a call for us to begin to live more authentically and more aligned with our true core values. In other words, we have to work to heal ourselves while our medical team is working hard to heal our bodies. We must be a part of the solution if we expect the best possible outcome from treatment.

So how do we do that? How can we become allies with our medical team?

The Subconscious Mind – Your Emotional Mind

My answer is that we engage the mind, specifically our subconscious mind. It means taking ownership and responsibility for how we think and feel. We acknowledge that there are certain patterns that we’ve abided by that became our identity. Then, we can decide which of these patterns we want to keep and which we want to change.

To do this work properly, we need support. The first port of support for many patients is therapy, as in talk therapy. But the reality is that conventional therapy i.e. psychotherapy, engages the conscious part of our mind, that is, the thinking, rational, and logical mind. That’s unfortunate because it’s not the part of your mind where emotions come from. No, that’s the subconscious mind, which is outside their scope of practice.

If you’re looking to address cancer and trauma, you need something else; something more goal-oriented and result-driven that engages the subconscious mind, and a good place to start is right here… CLICK HERE.