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  Home  > Helping Professionals  > Personality Types and Cancer

Personality Types and Cancer

Lawrence LeShan, MD, was one of the early figures introducing what has become a renaissance of these ideas. In the sixties, LeShan suggested that cancer was more prevalent in certain personality types. He described what became known as the carcinogenic personality - someone who began life feeling deprived or incomplete and powerless to do anything about it. As an adult, this personality appears to fill the perceived emptiness with another person, or external object, which affords them a sense of belonging, status, or power. The cancer patients LeShan studied had experienced a loss of this external source of "wholeness" within the previous six months due to a death, retirement, loss of job, etc.

The evidence has accumulated steadily, indicating that our state of mind impacts our health, with the nervous and immune systems serving as mediators. The belief that we are not responsible for whatever foreign matter appears in our body, be it germ or tumor, is based on our entrenchment in the philosophy of materialism that is born of the Paradigm of Disconnection. Materialism says that only matter is real; that matter is objective in nature, existing separately in and of itself. It allows no room for the impact of consciousness in attracting/creating matter. Newtonian physics, steeped in materialism, tells us that the universe is like a giant machine, operating with clocklike predictability. Yet we are not machines. We are not predictable. We are so complex and diverse as to defy any logic put to us.

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. - A. Einstein

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* Since most of us are co-dependent (see *modules L & N), you might think we are all cancer-prone, but our choice of diseases seems to depend on our style of attempting to fill our perceived internal void (fostered by our culture of estrangement). Cancer-prone individuals seem to go about it more passively than the Type A personality most frequently associated with heart disease. Both are different external defenses against the primal feeling of incompleteness.




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