Let’s be clear. Loving support is an important component of compassionate care. Promising miracles is not. And saying that Solzhenitsyn’s spontaneous healing was “self-induced” is professing mysticism. Hope is important, but saying that healing can occur through the power of love and consciousness sows false hope, which causes many patients to accept blame for their disease and its progression, and too often encourages them to forgo beneficial treatment all together. Yes, care must be empathic, but it also must be tested and validated. See Steve Jobs.
Dr. Lawenda’s assertion that stress is linked to cancer causation is contradicted in the very reference he cites (his reference number 8). We noted clearly that mind/body techniques can reduce stress and enhance patients’ well-being. But in this paper on quackery, we warned that that some proponents of mind-body therapies overpromise, suggesting that emotional stress can cause cancer and that alleviating it can cure it. The evidence that stress causes cancer is unequivocal: it does not.
These commentaries demonstrate just how great is the challenge to integrate rational, evidence-based complementary modalities into the mainstream armamentarium. At a minimum, we will have to shed quacks, charlatans and apologists.