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February 1, 2005

BehindTheMedspeak: Is there a 'cancer' personality?

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The latest study of this persistent meme says "no."

Scientists from the Danish Cancer Society drew on data accumulated since 1973 on the personality traits and incidence of cancer in 29,595 twins.

The result showed no correlation between personality type and cancer risk.

The paper will be published in the March 1 issue of the journal Cancer.

The persistent belief refuses to vanish, witness the fact that this study was performed and published after many others that have come to the same conclusion, most recently that of a Japanese group, published in 2003, which looked at over 30,000 people and likewise found no link.

Susan Sontag's superb 1978 book, "Illness As Metaphor," explored this subject at length and in depth.

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Sontag (above) wrote it in part because of the responses of others to her after she herself was diagnosed with cancer.

It's worth reading, whether or not you have or fear cancer.

February 1, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


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