The more informed you are, the longer you survive

The more informed you are, the longer you survive

An informed cancer patient has nearly twice the chances of survival, according to research from Dr. Caroline Kamau of Birkbeck College, London University, and published in the British Medical Journal, Supportive and Palliative Care, 15th September 2015. 

In fact, the research confirmed that the more information imparted, the better the outcome.

Taking data from almost 3,500 patients from the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey, 2013-14, Kamau looked at how often information was gleaned. 

All was positive until it came to information on the side-effects of drugs where detailing the side-effects was linked to a 35 per cent decline in survival rates. Dr. Kamau’s study focused on the work place, but the general point is well made. She stated in The Times, “Informing patients about potential side-effects can trigger unnecessary stress and increase rather than decrease uncertainty.

Kamau theorised that the information provision either decreased  or increased stress levels.

Cortisol, the stress hormone, is known to drive cancer. Indeed, research from UCLA has shown cancer patients  who undertake stress management courses survive significantly longer.

However, stress might not be the issue. CANCERactive has been arguing for years that great volumes of research exist but if people have no access to them, they are not so much dying of cancer – they are dying of ignorance. Our mission in 2002 was to bring this often-ignored research to everybody’s attention.

Dr. Kamau corroborated first study with a second on 6,700 patients. Again the finding was that access to information increased survival.

A number of years ago, Macmillan Cancer Support conducted research which showed cancer patients wanted ‘self-empowerment’. CANCERactive has long understood that patients wanted to take more control of their own lives, and to make more informed and smarter, personal choices.

Increasing survival rates are not just ‘down to better drugs and earlier diagnosis’, as drug developers CRUK would have us believe. It is down to better informed patients, through an explosion in research into complementary therapies, the Internet, complementary centres, support groups and Integrative cancer charities like CANCERactive.

2015 Research
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