CANCER AS A TURNING POINT: A Handbook for People w by Lawrence LeShan

CANCER AS A TURNING POINT: A Handbook for People w

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KIRKUS REVIEW

How to enlist a person's "self-healing abilities" in fighting cancer; by a familiar, respected voice in the field. Psychotherapist LeShan, working from the base of his 35-year research project "involving several thousand" people with cancer, is writing here both for those with the disease and those who care about them. He aims to teach "how to use psychological change to help heal the patient's compromised immune system." LeShan isn't of the school that blames people for their illnesses, and he is always careful about claiming a cure-all. But he has found that "when the total environment of the person with cancer is mobilized for life and his or her inner ecology is thereby changed in a positive way," one of two things happen. For some, "life is prolonged, not in an arbitrary way, but in order that there may be more experience of the self, self-recognition and the recognition--and often fulfillment--of dreams." And sometimes, says LeShan, for others there were genuine miracles--"not magic, but dedicated devotion and hard work which made the cancer a turning point in the person's life rather than a sign of its ending." This latter point is illustrated by case histories of patients who, after leaving or changing unrewarding jobs, settling disturbed family situations, and otherwise making their lives happier, decided to seek long abandoned but cherished goals. Sometimes also adding the support of alternative therapies such as nutritionists, they have experienced long-term remissions or disappearances of their disease. LeShan first explains how psychological change can immobilize the compromised immune system; he then looks in depth at such questions as cancer and the family; surviving in a hospital; how to overcome despair; the holistic approach to health; minimizing burnout over the long haul (for everyone, including patient); helping the dying person; and meditation. As always LeShan is thoughtful and compassionate, and he liberally illustrates his points with examples from his own practice and experiences. Sound advice, then, full of possibilities for those affected.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1989
ISBN: 525-24743-2
Publisher: Dutton
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