Monday, December 14, 2009
Why does this film need to be made?
In 1981 the American Cancer Society placed Dr. O. Carl Simonton on their “Quack List” otherwise known as The Unproven Methods List, for his work in addressing the emotions and beliefs of his cancer patients. He was the only board-certified radiation-oncologist to ever be placed on this list, he was also the only person to ever be removed from the list. After 19 years, Dr. Simonton was quietly removed from the list but there was no public apology ever sanctioned for their attempt to derail his entire career.
The advancements in western medicine are indeed impressive and important, but what seems to have been forgotten in the process is the miraculous healing power of our very own body and mind. Dr. Simonton captured this paradox very well in his book Getting Well Again when he says:
“So much time, money and knowledge have gone into our medical technology that it is easy to think of medical science as all-powerful. But when, in spite of everything, people still die, it is illness that seems all-powerful. The glittering machines, the giant laboratories, and the genuine medical accomplishments of our time can cause us to forget that many of the essential ingredients of healing are still mysterious. It is important that we remember the limits of our knowledge” (16).
To say that this topic is important is a gross under-statement, I believe it is vital that the public be informed of the studies that have been conducted over the past decades that have scientifically supported the concept that psychological and emotional counseling has increased the survival rate for cancer patients, as well as improved the quality of life and death for these patients. This film does not seek to disregard modern medical accomplishments but rather, inquires why western medicine has disregarded the numerous studies that have proven the significance of mind-body work. Why is counseling for cancer patients and their families not treated as essential as chemotherapy or radiation? Why are so many families not informed of the science behind this work, while they are dictated to about the science and importance of risky, experimental drug treatments?
The public will not ask for what they do not know exists, this film merely seeks to introduce the public to these concepts in an attempt to create a place for the emotional treatment of cancer in modern oncology.