Fear in cancer patients

I recently re-discovered an article on fear in cancer patients, by the late, lamented Prof. Christa Cerni. She cites a Viennese psychiatrist, Dr. Erwin Ringel, who once described the experience of cancer like this:

‘For the person who’s had cancer, it’s like being shut in a dark room with a murderer. He or she doesn’t know which corner the murderer is sitting in, whether or when he will strike again, even if he’s actually still there, or has just slunk noiselessly away. A person who’s had cancer is always on guard, and the slightest sound, the merest movement of air, the tiniest suspicion of movement in this pitch dark room can bring on the fear.’

It struck a few chords with our group, all of whom have met with cancer and have had moments of feeling that fear – but the article paints a bit of a bleak picture. One of our members added a more positive perspective:  ‘Somewhere there’s a light switch. You just have to find it’.

As the article is quite long, I’ve posted it here.


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