This is a guest post from Barbara Carroll, author of the book, Healing the Cancer Personality. Her experience, observations and research bring us an intriguing insight and perspective regarding that dreaded disease, cancer.
In 1995, I found myself struggling with several diseases that doctors deemed incurable. I had been sick for several years and tried everything I knew to get well – and yet I made no progress – until I found a ministry in Georgia that taught me about God, the Bible and roots to disease.
Through Scripture, I learned we are three part beings. We are a spirit, we have a soul (mind, will, emotions) and we live in a body. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.“ (1 Thessalonians 5:23 KJV)
The ministry I worked in, www.beinhealth.com , works with people to find the root cause of their particular disease dealing with body, soul and spirit because these cannot be separated. In fact, within the past few decades science has irrefutably proven the biochemical link between body and mind (soul). The goal of good healing ministry is health rather than management of symptoms.
Over a time, as I learned about God and the power of His Word, I began to apply His truth to my thoughts and behavior. Disease symptoms began to exit. Healed, I stayed in the ministry several years sharing what I’d learned because I was strongly compelled to help others heal.
My personal and ministry experience taught me that in order to get well from a disease process, we have to deal with every area of our creation. In other words – we have to feed our spirit with the word of God, deal with our thoughts and emotions, and overcome the roots to the disease. We have to learn to line up our intent and actions with God as revealed in His Word. We also have to feed our body natural and healthy foods and establish loving and healthy relationships. Our words and thoughts must be life-giving and Scripture teaches us how to rest in the Lord for the peace we require.
In my ministry work, I found myself praying with many people fighting cancer. As I got to know them, I saw many common personality traits. This observation launched me into researching whether the medical community had compiled information about such traits. What I found changed my life and my ministry.
During years of studying how our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors can affect our physical health, I learned that many doctors and researchers recognize personality traits commonly seen in people who have certain diseases. Most of us have heard about the type “A” personality – but I learned that there are specific personality traits that are associated with particular diseases. I found numerous indications that a type “C” personality associated with cancer can be profiled through shared copious medical observations. I found there was considerable information on this subject.
In my book, Healing the Cancer Personality I have identified many studies and articles that have been done about this very issue
and will herein summarize the most important personality traits that have been identified.
Studies in the 1940s and 1950s explored the idea that there is a cancer personality, but it wasn’t until 1979 that the term “Type C personality” was introduced by Dr. Lydia Temoshok.
Richard Sagebiel, MD, who headed a melanoma clinic in San Francisco, noticed “a strange pattern of stress and coping” among his patients who had melanoma. He asked Dr. Temoshok to study these cancer patients.
She found the patients who were not doing well, that had the thickest tumors and poorest prognosis, were:
• Bottling up their emotions. Emotionally flat. Hardly ever expressed anger or any negative emotion. Unable to acknowledge sadness or fear. Dismissed or ignored strong emotions.
• Pleasant to a fault, regardless of circumstances. Overwhelmingly nice. Uncomplaining. Unassertive. Cooperative. Patient.
• In denial – used denial as a coping strategy.
• Pleasers. Always putting others first. Overly self-sacrificing. More concerned about the other people in their lives rather than themselves. Striving unduly to please others – even strangers — leaving their own needs unattended.
• Prone to guilt and self-blame. Had low self-esteem.
These characteristics she then called “Type C”.
The medical community has continued to anecdotally identify a “type C” personality as:
• a person who denies, avoids, suppresses, or represses their feelings,
• They may be stoic or they may fabricate their personality so that they can be accepted by other people.
• They can be a false burden bearer.
• He or she can have a calm outwardly rational and unemotional demeanor but they also have a tendency to conform to the wishes of others.
• They can display a lack of assertiveness and an inclination toward having feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.
• They can be angry and/or depressed.
• They may not have a vision for their future.
The Bible tells us this about having a vision for our future:
Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Without a vision for our future … we become hopeless and lose our will to “choose life”. (see Deut 30:19)
In my work with people attacked by cancer, I have seen that the personality traits listed herein are accurate to a great degree. However, I emphasize that every person is unique. We all must work with God on our personal issues and He loves each of us so much He WILL guide us through His Spirit to ours. Let me share information I found fascinating from Dr. W. Douglas Brodie, MD who wrote in “Causes of Cancer: The Cancer Personality”:
“In dealing with many thousands of cancer patients over the past 28 years, it has been my observation that there are certain personality traits present in the cancer-susceptible individual. These traits are as follows:
1. Being highly conscientious, caring, dutiful, responsible, hard-working, and usually of above average intelligence.
2. Exhibits a strong tendency toward carrying other people’s burdens and toward taking on extra obligations, and often “worrying for others.”
3. Having a deep-seated need to make others happy. Being a “people pleaser” with a great need for approval.
4. Often lacking closeness with one or both parents, which sometimes, later in life, results in lack of closeness with spouse or others who would normally be close.
5. Harbours long-suppressed toxic emotions, such as anger, resentment and / or hostility. The cancer-susceptible individual typically internalizes such emotions and has great difficulty expressing them.
6. Reacts adversely to stress, and often becomes unable to cope adequately with such stress. Usually experiences an especially damaging event about 2 years before the onset of detectable cancer. The patient is not able to cope with this traumatic event or series of events, which comes as a “last straw” on top of years of suppressed reactions to stress.
7. Has an inability to resolve deep-seated emotional problems/conflicts, usually beginning in childhood, often even being unaware of their presence.
Typical of the cancer-susceptible personality, as noted above, is the long-standing tendency to suppress “toxic emotions”, particularly anger. Usually beginning in childhood, this individual has held in their hostility and other unacceptable emotions. More often than not, this feature of the affected personality has its origins in feelings of rejection by one or both parents. Whether these feelings of rejection are justified or not, the individual perceives this rejection as real, and this results in a lack of closeness with the “rejecting” parent, followed later in life by a lack of closeness with spouses and others with whom close relationships would normally develop.
Those at the higher risk for cancer tend to develop feelings of loneliness as a result of their having been deprived of affection and acceptance earlier in life, even if this is only their perception. They have a tremendous need for approval and acceptance, and develop a very high sensitivity to the needs of others while suppressing their own emotional needs.”
My own observations concur with Dr. Brodie’s. In my book Healing The Cancer Personality, I site many more studies and articles written by people in the medical community. I also talk about Scripture and how God would have us think and behave so that we don’t have these traits or issues in our lives because His Word assures us He wants us always IN HEALTH.
Proverbs 23:7 clearly reveals the impact of our soul (mind, will, emotions) on our very “beings” for we are human “beings”. It counsels: “For as he thinketh in his heart so is he”.
Noted author, Deepak Chopra, tells a story about a medical doctor who had not had a check up for 25 years. When he was compelled to get a physical due to life insurance requirements, a large dark spot was found on his lung. It was diagnosed as inoperable cancer. The doctor died a couple of months later. Some days after the funeral, Chopra was sorting through the physician’s effects and came across a chest x-ray that was 25 years old. Out of curiosity, he put it up to the light and, lo and behold, there was that same dark spot on the lung! The deceased doctor had lived a vigorous life all those years and was, in effect, killed by the diagnosis and not the disease.” Reactions to diagnoses can denigrate our most intimate “heart thoughts”.
We have the power within us to change our lives, personality traits, and spiritual strength. Cooperating with our Creator and knowing He loves us unconditionally is the beginning, but we must also realize that disease is NEVER from God but is from the enemy of our souls. Jesus said, “The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. I come that you may have life more abundantly.” John 10:10. The foundation of our victory is realizing what Jesus procured for us in his death and resurrection because He became a curse for us so that we need not carry the curse of disease in our “beings”.