Video Transcript: Is This the Missing “Ingredient” for Cancer Recovery?
Laura Bond: And actually, that’s something that really surprised me in the research—and this is going off track a little—but it’s how important pleasure is in the healing paradigm. You know, there’s a study from the University of Pittsburgh showing that pleasure, or a sense of joy, is the second most important factor for predicting cancer recovery.
So I’d advise people not to cut out completely anything that provides them with a lot of pleasure, or—obviously if they’re dealing with cancer, cutting out sugar is a must. Dairy, something that’s probably quite advisable, especially if you’ve got hormonal cancers. But finding pleasure in other things. Taking time out every day to do something that just makes you lose track of time, where you’re completely absorbed in it.
Ty Bollinger: Right.
Laura Bond: Give yourself that rather than constantly being on this to-do list world of doing this and do that, and suddenly the day’s gone, and you haven’t squeezed out that joy.
Ty Bollinger: You haven’t enjoyed anything.
Laura Bond: Yeah, absolutely.
Ty Bollinger: No, I have to agree with you on that. That’s really congruent to the information that we’ve gotten from a lot of other interviewees, is that the emotional, the mental state, is very important. And so, joy, happiness, pleasure, laughter, all these things actually not only make you feel good, but they help regulate your immune system.
Laura Bond: Yeah. It’s really, really interesting. And especially the stress thing. I think, you know, we know intuitively that when we’re really, really stressed, we’re more primed to get sick, you know? You come down with the flu, you get a breakout of acne, you get a throbbing headache. And you might shrug your shoulders and say, “I’m under a lot of pressure right now.”
So we intuitively make that connection. But for so long we’ve been sort of reluctant to make this connection between stress and cancer. We’d rather attribute it to bad genes, bad luck, smoking. But the latest research is telling us otherwise. I mean, there’s a 2009 study from China showing that adrenaline, which is that fight-or-flight hormone, can actually make cancer resistant to treatment.
When I interviewed Dr. Joan Borysenko for You Can Say No to Chemo – she’s a Harvard-trained scientist and psychologist. And she said, “Yeah, we never thought that there was a link between stress and cancer, but we now know that when you’re stressed, the enzymes that repair breaks in DNA are damaged. So in essence, you can’t repair damaged DNA as well.” So I think it’s good for us to know the impact that stress can have on disease.
Some people initially are frustrated by that. They’re like, “Well, what do I do? Life’s stressful. I’ve got elderly parents to look after. I’ve got kids. I’ve got a pressurized job.” And it’s not about avoiding stress so much as it’s about changing your perception to it, building certain things into your day, quick things you can do which can dial down stress.