Research report 2018 - Max Planck Institute for Human Development

“You can do it!?” The history of emotions and cancer

Hitzer, Bettina
Forschungsbereich Geschichte der Gefühle
Minerva Forschungsschwerpunkt „Gefühl und Krankheit. Geschichte(n) einer komplizierten Beziehung“
Some assumptions are so widely shared that they are rarely questioned. One such assumption is that positive emotions increase chances of beating cancer. Although researchers have yet to establish a clear link, this assumption continues to define society’s view of cancer. Even in the twentieth century, guides for doctors advised them against revealing a diagnosis of cancer to their patients in the belief that feelings of fear might negatively influence the recovery process. How did these assumptions gain broad acceptance? This text looks at the history of how emotions can influence cancer.

For the full text, see the German version.

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