What is spontaneous healing

Radiolexicon HealthSpontaneous healing in cancer

The diagnosis of "cancer" is always a shock. The course of life so far is abruptly interrupted, and from the patient's point of view, also terminated. What are my chances of recovery? Is there any healing at all? Am I responsible for the tumor? Do i have to change my life? If so, in which direction? Question after question, almost always without a clear answer. Resignation spreads, at least at the beginning. Later - after the therapy has started and hopefully understanding discussions with doctors and relatives - hope will grow again. This also includes the wish that the tumor may disappear as it came. Doctors speak of spontaneous healing in this context. What exactly do you have to imagine by that?

Healing can only be determined with certainty after years

"If someone asks me, I answer that this is a term that has a fairly wide range of interpretations and usually means that the cancer suddenly appears cured."

Says Beate Hornemann, head psycho-oncology at the Dresden University Cancer Center. The qualified psychologist speaks of a "wide range of interpretation", of the fact that cancer "suddenly appears cured". Clear statements sound different. This does not mean that spontaneous healing is only an understandable wish that will never come true - there is actually a limited number of spontaneous healing. It's just that the term "cure" in cancer is ambiguous.

"You can only answer that backwards in general, if you can say unprecedented in old age that I had cancer a few years ago and it never came back. Prospectively, that is, looking ahead, it is always difficult to discuss cure rates because Tumor biology is a very difficult one and nowadays we also get away from limiting cancer to organs. Breast cancer as such has a lot of subspecies, whereby you cannot say who had breast cancer, has to be cured after five years or is considered cured after five years. "

Cancer patients need medical attention

Patients don't care why a tumor disappears: because the therapy was effective or because their own body somehow fought the cancer spontaneously. The main thing is that he's gone! From a medical point of view, however, it is a very important question whether spontaneous healing actually occurs.

"Studies show that it is actually extremely rare and that it has only been observed in a few forms of cancer, if at all," says Birgit Hiller from the Cancer Information Service of the German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg.

"These are, for example, black skin cancer, melanoma, some rare forms of lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, it is renal cell carcinoma, there is a type of cancer in children where it is actually to be expected that a tumor will regress in very young children , that is the neuroblastoma. But with the really common types of cancer such as breast cancer or prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer, those affected and their relatives should not rely on the tumor to resolve on its own. "

In any case, patients need medical care - even for types of cancer that occasionally heal spontaneously. You can enter, but you don't have to! In general, when it comes to the subject of "spontaneous healing", something else is the focus for most of those affected.

Psyche does not cause cancer

"What can I do for myself? Are there perhaps diets or are there immune boosters that help my body fight the disease so that I can perhaps do without one or the other normal therapy or do not need as much?"

This large field also includes psychological factors - according to Beate Hornemann, psycho-oncologist at the Dresden University Cancer Center.

"The main point of the encounter that I have with cancer patients is the effect on the psyche, and there is a part of the patient who also wonders if his own life was like that before the disease came into play, fraught with conflict however that can be said to have had an impact on the development of this disease. "

If this question were answered with "yes", if professional or private stress is the trigger or cause of cancer, that would also mean: A lifestyle with less stress and more harmony, with positive thinking should promote healing up to possible spontaneous healing. Unfortunately, this conclusion is wrong.

"I then try to relieve the patient, because serious scientific studies do not do justice to this. It has actually been proven today that there is a mix of genetic factors, behavioral risks and, unfortunately, coincidence."

When "positive thinking" is felt as a compulsion

The assumption that unemployment and divorce, depression and suppressed aggression - to name just a few possible factors that every person experiences in the course of their life - believe that they cause cancer is fatal for those affected in two ways: First, they are sudden responsible for her own illness, which is seldom true; and second, an internal U-turn is extremely difficult. Anyone who has endured pressure and stress for years or decades cannot learn the art of positive thinking overnight.

"I know patients who tend to be allergic to it whenever they have the feeling that the environment wants them to be permanently cheerful, that they somehow feel compelled to be optimistic. Positive thinking is more an orientation towards the healthy parts and a courage for a second repression without neglecting the real threat of the disease. "

Conclusion: spontaneous healing is very rare; one's own psyche does not play a role in the development of a tumor; and third, positive thinking, the great hope of many patients and family members in defeating cancer in this way, is a double-edged sword.