Uncovering the Cancer-Trauma Connection (Part 2)

Greetings, noble readers. This excerpt is from the conclusion of “Cancer, Trauma and Emotions,” slated for publication on September 4, 2024. Enjoy this preview.

There are many explanations for and descriptions of the origin of cancer, but perhaps the most revealing, as discussed in this book’s introduction, is that of a wound that isn’t healing. Implicit in that definition is the understanding that malignancy has a root cause that develops into a chronic imbalance.

In one instance, a carcinogenic exposure may persist over years, damaging DNA faster than the body can repair it. This is the case with radiation exposure or smoking. Another possibility is a single event that creates the seed of cancer that grows under the influence of other proximate causes. This may very well be the case with trauma.

Does this mean trauma causes cancer? This book is not about validating that statement. Rather, it’s about taking a holistic perspective on health and disease. Trauma is, unequivocally, a major underlying cause of ill health. Whether trauma is a textbook carcinogen is beside the point.

Consider stress, the subject of one of my previous books. After publication, many readers inquired whether I thought stress is a cause of cancer, perhaps because I never made that explicit claim. My answer is that chronic stress is a potent proximate cause of cancer, suggesting that it strongly promotes cancer growth that has been initiated by some other means.

This does not imply that the damaging influence of stress should be ignored simply because it is not the root cause of cancer. Removing the initiating carcinogen is always best, but if it cannot be addressed, we have no choice but to mitigate the proximate causes that are feeding cancer growth. This is the terrain theory of addressing the cancer microenvironment, bolstering the resilience of the body-mind and instilling the resolve to maintain a healthy, anticancer lifestyle for years to come.

Returning to the pond analogy, stress is akin to throwing small pebbles in the pond of life. The ripples of chronic stress can wear down one’s resilience and open the door to chronic illness. Trauma is different; it is a boulder that displaces water from the pond. This is how trauma, as a single incident, can have repercussions throughout one’s life. Mitigating chronic stress requires lifestyle adjustments; healing trauma requires restoring the primacy of the Heart-mind. In the absence of our personal power, the seed of cancer can take root.

If trauma is in fact a root cause of cancer, then a profound opportunity for empowerment is available to all those brave enough to do the work. Healing past trauma means to address a root cause of illness, one that underlies addictions, destructive behaviors, and feeling unsafe or unwanted on planet Earth. If cancer is a wound that isn’t healing, then trauma would be chief among the wounding events.

A correlation between trauma and cancer incidence may be just that, a correlation. The weight of the evidence presented here is compelling but not absolute. It may be some time before science can answer this question with any degree of certainty. Yet the wise cancer patient, caregiver, or oncologist can read the writing on the wall (or in this book) and take away an actionable means of deep, life-changing healing.

Image by DALL-E, OpenAI

Just like stress, even if trauma were a proximate cause to carcinogenic exposure, it should be addressed with compassion and determination. The future of oncology care should be—hopefully will be—equally vested in health as in disease. There will always be a place for anticancer strategies such as drugs or herbs, but adherence to an anticancer lifestyle is the missing piece of the puzzle. With advances in oncology, and a personal journey of returning to wholeness, it may very well be possible to live with cancer but not die from it. With that mindset, cancer will not be a tragedy from which we succumb, but a friend and wise teacher who guides us back on the path of meaning and empowerment.

July 5, 2024

Categories: Cancer, Categories: Philosophy

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