Living with cancer

Helpful advice for cancer survivorship

The following is advice found on a website which has been defunct for a number of years. The author, himself affected by a cancer diagnosis, shares helpful insights for cancer patients from his own journey.

Very interestingly, this person's insights and approach tally in large part with those of a Belgian psychologist who studied in detail the characteristics common to those who in spite of an "incurable" diagnosis won their battle against cancer and other "hopeless" diseases.[1]

"In the years since I was diagnosed with cancer I have mixed with many people who also have cancer. What follows are simply observations I’ve made or advice I’ve heard other people giving. Everybody has, and should be allowed to have, his or her own way of coming to terms with a crisis. Therefore, if the following observations are helpful that’s good, otherwise disregard them.


It’s a lot easier to say than to do, but the very first step in finding a way forward is to accept or acknowledge what has happened. Everyone does things at their own speed and for me it took a couple of months to get over the initial shock of being told I had cancer. But once the initial dust has settled it’s time to calmly come to grips with the situation and decide what to do.


Some people may be familiar with the ancient Chinese text, the Art of War, by Sun Tsu, about the psychology of conflict. Before anything else, the first task is to fully know and completely understand your opponent. He who knows himself and knows his opponent will always win. He who knows himself but does not know his opponent will sometimes win and sometimes lose. He who does not know himself and does not know his opponent is guaranteed to lose.

Therefore it’s worthwhile finding out as much as possible about cancer. However it’s necessary to accept the fact that there is wide and sometimes intense disagreement among practitioners. It’s wise to develop a healthy scepticism without becoming a cynic.

As I tried to read as widely as I could from a variety of sources, I tried to ask the questions, does this theory or idea make basic common sense? Are these people reasonably credible? Do these people have some agenda or purpose other than trying to do their best to help people who have cancer?

Spiritual dimension

If you’re sailing in a yacht in rough weather you have one of two choices. You can concentrate on your immediate surroundings and that means the looking at the waves going up and down. Alternatively you can look at a far point, perhaps a mountain or some distant landmark that you are heading towards.

That fixed point will be calm and steady in contrast to your immediate environment. Just the action of having a wider perspective beyond your setting in itself has a calming effect.

It is exactly the same with religious beliefs. If you have the sense that there is something greater than yourself, something beyond what you can see then it is easier to come to terms with what is happening here and now.

I tried to develop the approach that I would try to my fullest extent to do everything I could to overcome this disease. At the same time I try to realize that in spite of my best efforts it might not work. If that were the case I would try to accept what happens as being in the hands of the higher power.

Think for yourself

Friends and family are concerned and want to help and this is only natural. But sometimes helping means believing that they know best or alternatively they should ‘take charge’ of your problem and tell you what you should do.

Sometimes a person you are mixing with may feel so threatened about the possibility of getting cancer themselves that this adversely affects their way of trying to help. Other times people have often said that it’s easier for the person that’s got the disease, at least he or she can do something while friends and loved ones feel helpless, wishing they could change something but not knowing how to.

In all of this it is important to remember that you’re the one that’s got the disease, no one else. I try to explain that I’ve looked into all the alternatives and based on all the information I can gather I think this is the best option for me. In other words, convey to people that this is not something I’m leaping wildly into but is the result of careful thought. If you convey this I’ve found that the people who genuinely care about you will support you.

As said before, the area of cancer is one in which there is wide disagreement about what cancer is and how it should be treated. Not only do practitioners of conventional medicine and alternative approaches not communicate but they are often heatedly at loggerheads.

This leaves the cancer patient in the middle.

For me, it is a matter of accepting that the definitive truth of how to treat cancer is not yet known, otherwise there wouldn’t be controversy and disagreement. I’ve tried to take the approach of being polite, respectful but insistent that I intend to do things in a way I am comfortable with.

Decide on a plan and ‘think healthy’.

It’s sometimes said the easiest way out of being lost in a forest is to go in a straight line. It may take longer but if you meander, there’s a chance you might never get out. In other words, once you’ve heard from as many different points of view as possible, decide on a plan and stick to it. But at the same time it’s best to be continually open minded and continually listening to new ideas and if necessary be prepared to modify your approach.

It’s important to accept that treating cancer by alternative methods is a long term commitment. Dr Binzel, in his book, Alive and Well, expressed the view that a nutritional change may take up to 6 months to have effect. In addition, I have the intuitional feeling that if I stop what I’m doing that the cancer could return very quickly.

Once you’ve decided on a plan and have started to implement it, don’t dwell on negative things. Perhaps you have a long term plan, nothing to do with health, but which makes you feel good doing. Perhaps there are things you’ve always wanted to do for fun but have never had the time or the opportunity. Well, now’s the time. [Note by HealingCancerNaturally: This as well as other elements mentioned, may actually decisively contribute to your healing.[1]]

If there are people who are negative or try to drag you into their negativity, try to remember, their negativity is their problem, not yours.

This can perhaps all be summarized by saying that if you concentrate on and give your attention to positive things you will tend to feel positive. This in turn will contribute to your overall good health.

Seek out like-minded persons

Joining a support group or mixing with people who are in the same boat provides an encouragement to continue with the plan you’re following.

Give something back

The process of trying to help someone else and concentrating on someone else’s situation often has the plus of taking your mind off your own problems. If you have received some benefit quite possibly it’s because someone else made the effort to think of someone beyond himself or herself. It seems to me to be only fair to continue that process and try to help someone else."[2]


1 See Holistic cancer healing advice by health care professionals (4) Twelve steps to surviving incurable cancer.

2 According to Edgar Cayce, healing forces will be brought to the body when it "dedicates its life and its abilities to a definite service, to God". See On Healing Cancer (2): More inspirational, encouraging, and empowering quotes for cancer patients.

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