Positive Thinking And Cancer Survival: Is There A Link?


Positive thinking and cancer survival are deeply connected. Our language and mindset about cancer reflects how we see cancer. The negative vocabulary around the illness strengthens our fears and impedes healing. So there is a real need for a new language and new mindset about cancer.

Need for positive thinking

Our language around cancer is not just limiting but defeatist as well. This maybe because we often speak of cancer as a ‘monster’, a ‘scourge of mankind’ and an ‘internal terrorist’. Viewing your illness in such negative terms will dishearten you and also drain you of hope and energy. You make cancer bigger and scarier. On the other hand, you make yourself smaller.

Positive thinking and cancer survival

Positive mindset about cancerTo take back your power, a positive vocabulary and mindset are crucial. They will energize and empower you. Here’s how you can make the switch.

1. Anecdote, not statistic

Cancer thriver, Vijay Bhat decided very early on, that he wants to be an anecdote of hope instead of a statistic about failure.

I don’t want to be a statistic, I want to be an anecdote. I want to be one of those rare folks who beat the odds and one who grew from that experience.

2. Thriver, not survivor

Why only survive, when you thrive? Being a survivor essentially means that you just about cope with your situation. On the other hand, as a thriver you honour your experience and actually grow from it.

3. Impatient, not patient

You can be a patient – someone who passively waits for healing to occur. Or you can be an ‘impatient’ – proactively getting on with life. The choice is yours.

The human spirit is stronger than cancer

While cancer is powerful, the human spirit is far stronger. If you can connect with this spirit within yourself, you can tap into your deepest inner resources to manage your stressors and strengths, and find ways to heal yourself.


  • Make a list of all the negative words that you use to talk about cancer. How can replace them with positive words?
  • To become an anecdote, what would your thriver story look like?
  • What tools and techniques can you use – e.g. meditation, yoga, etc – for positive thinking and cancer survival?

Nothing can prepare you for the cancer journey. But advice from someone who have been there, done that can certainly make you better informed. You can watch the Cancer Awakens video series here and read the articles here.


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