The book had its origins in a telephone call made to one of its authors by Dr. Richard Sagebriel, Director of the Melanoma Clinic at the University of California. The physician noticed that a coping and behavioral pattern was emerging among the clinic's melanoma (a serious skin cancer) patients which warranted study. The pattern, which had to do with the way stress was handled, was more apparent in those patients who were doing poorly and who had the worst prognosis. An emotional non-reactiveness to their melanomas was noted.
Dr. Temoshok was asked to set up a scientific study to see if there was a mind-body connection which warranted investigation. She found that the main characteristics of the melanoma patients were that they were invariably very nice people more concerned about their family and friends than about themselves. She discovered that the patients were using denial as a coping tactic and found that the melanoma victims had always been concerned about pleasing others rather than themselves. In a word, they were out of touch with their own needs and feelings.
It was the manner in which they handled the stresses of life which set them apart from others. The patients kept their feelings hidden. Expressing anger and acknowledging fear and sadness were not used as coping mechanisms. The author's study found evidence that this coping style weakens the immune system's response to illness and makes us more vulnerable to cancer.
The authors claimed that by changing their behavior, the patients could begin to change their prognoses. Replete with many short case studies of melanoma patients, The Type C Connection is well written and interesting. Some interesting topics discussed include: Is Self-Sacrifice, a Form of Self-Neglect?, Does Type C Behavior Precede Cancer?, Why Type C Behavior is Blame-Free, Changing Type C Behavior, Negative Feelings Are Not Negative, and The Immune Benefits from Opening Up.
The authors believe that to uncover the origins of Type C behavior, one must study the patient's family origins. She feels that the cancer patient's method of coping originated as a survival technique in early childhood and that they really had no choice but to develop those personality characteristics. In a few dramatic cases the appearance of the melanoma occurred in the same body area related to a specific past trauma. An interesting story is recounted of a patient, who by re-living an early trauma, was able to completely eliminate a throat cancer within a 48 hour period! The authors believed that ``Remembering the events with the emotions he felt but never expressed at the time alleviated his condition.''
Many prospective studies of psychological risk factors in various types of cancer are discussed as well as the results of the latest scientific advances in the study of the immune system, neuro-transmitters, stress hormones, and psychoneuroimmunology.
Temoshok and Dreher believe that after many years of conjecture, the mind-body dualism is finally being demonstrated on a molecular level and that more important breakthroughs lie ahead. The future, they claim, will bring revolutionary changes in medicine and treatment.
I have no doubt that the truths uncovered by primal theory will eventually become an important adjunct in the treatment of practically all diseases, since almost all diseases have psychosomatic underpinings. It is encouraging to read that more rigorous and more than anecdotal evidence have supported the objective realities which we as primalers have known to be fact from day one of our own primal re-livings.
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