The Positive Side of Cancer
Last month I had the fortunate opportunity to give a workshop to patients, providers, and caregivers who have been affected by blood cancers (e.g., leukemia, lymphoma). The workshop focused on Positive Psychology and Cancer. This was particularly meaningful for me because too often we Psychologists and Researchers get wrapped up in what is wrong with people, rather than, what is right with people? The specific topics we covered were: Post traumatic Growth, Resiliency, Self-Compassion, and Mindfulness. If you missed it, don't worry because I've included some of the key take-away points below!
Cancer & Post traumatic Growth (PTG)
PTG is defined as a person’s positive psychological changes after confronting a negative or traumatic event. It can also be thought of as the positive changes that occur through the process of struggling with traumatic events, and the positive evaluation of the challenge and loss. This notion of positive evaluations and changes after Cancer is something that resonates deeply with people who have encountered a life-threatening illness. (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1995).
To better understand this concept of PTG, researchers have used a questionnaire called the Posttruamtic Growth Inventory (PTGI) to measureCancer patients/survivors experiences. Interestingly, between 50-80% of people report some positive changes after treatment. Some common areas of life that can change include: