Role of Optimism in Treating Cancer Patients


Diseases can be fatal to human beings and cause stress to them. However, a person should fight to overcome the ailment. Cancer is one of the diseases with a high risk of fatal outcome. Often, cancer patients die not because of the disease, but are killed by the stress that comes out of it. Optimism is one aspect that helps such patients fight for their lives: it helps to prolong life. The people who are pessimists are more likely to give up on cancer treatment and thus lose their lives. Other individuals are also likely to influence the ability of cancer patients to fight for their lives. They include relatives of the patients, doctors, and the hospitals they are being treated in. The purpose of this paper is to outline the role of optimism for cancer patients when they are undergoing treatment. It also discusses how the optimism displayed by relatives of the patient, doctors, and hospital influences the outcome of their treatment.


Optimist Patients

As for the optimist patients, the main thing is that they hope that one day they will heal after undergoing the treatment. They take challeges that come with cancer more effectively and hence benefit psychologically. The optimism theory explains the behaviors of such people. According to Nighat, Salma, Summiya, and Asad optimism is explained as an individual’s generalized expectations. According to the theory, the patient’s behavior should be goal-oriented. Optimism has a direct effect on the patient’s thoughts and mindset. In case a patient believes he/she will cope with it, such a patient will not give up at all in the fight to overcome the disease. Due to that, such patients will never fail to go and see a doctor, and have the chemotherapy in time; they will never see how expensive the treatment is. Instead, they will keep on doing what they believe will restore their health, and at the end, they will heal. Additionaly, patients who are optimisit are reported to have less pain and reduced fatigue.
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Pessimist Patients

These are the patients who contemplate that they have nothing else left in life apart from death. A cancer diagnosis causes more profound distress than any other disease. A perfect identification and timely treatment of breast cancer is very crucial to a woman. As for breast cancer patients for instance, the women consider that is the end of life, they see the cndition as a degrading factor to their beauty. Such patients take cancer as a threat to their attractiveness since the only option is to have the breast cut. Many of them fear that choice as they feel they will be deprived of their feminity. Therefore, they claim that they would better fight cancer through chemotherapy instead of the cancerous organ being removed. As a result, these patients will often lose their lives earlier than expected as they succumb to the disease.

Patients’ Relatives

The relatives play a very important and crucial role in the cancer patients treatment. They are the most keen people to the ill person; thus, they should support such patients inspiring them to always have confidence. Therefore, they should be optimistic in whatever they say and do. The support they give to their patient should be immense, which will in turn work as a motivator towards encouraging the patients to fight. The positive mindset of the relatives means that they will keep encouraging the patients to go for chemotherapy. In case a woman has breast cancer, her husband should be supportive in such a manner that she won’t feel like she will lose her beauty in the eyes of her husband. Many of the patients shy away from mastectomy due to the fear of divorce. As a supportive husband, who believes that his woman will feel well after mastectomy, he will encourage her to go ahead which will instill more confidence into the woman that she will overcome the disease. In the end, he will save not only a loved one but a mother who is ready to live happily. Support comes also in other ways being motivated by optimism from one’s relatives. First, the words of encouragement such as ‘God is with you and all will be well’ will keep the sick person hopeful. Second, there is the financial support. The treatment is very expensive, and at times it may be hard for the patient to financially afford it. The support from all teh relatives gives the patient a reason to smile and continue with the treatment. There is nothing as important as a family which is together, more so during times of trouble. To a patient, that is the first thing which will lead him/her to healing. Finally, according to Kurtz, a supportive family will change roles: the part that was being done by the patient who is now ill is taken over by the one who is well, which encourages the patient to fight cancer.


Doctors are with the patients during the critical moments of their life. They are the expertise who explain to the parents the stage of cancer they face. Optimism is therefore needed when a doctor is communicating with the patient. There are many cases globally when the disease has been detected late. In such cases, the patient gets to a point where he/she does not know whether he will live the next day. The doctors should, therefore, be optimistic when handling such a patient. They should encourage the patient telling that he/she will be healed after the successful cancer treatment programs are followed. There are societies where cancer is taken as a curse. In such societies, the doctors should play a big role in ensuring that they restore the confidence in the community that cancer is not a curse but a disease just like any other. More so, they should encourage such communities educating the people about the ways to treat the disease. Also, some patients has a belief that the cancer treatment might increase due to the use of radiotherapy. Doctors have a role to explain to the patients the importance of using radiotherapy and ensure them that radiotherapy will have a positive outcome. In the long run, such patience will realize the importance of undergoing cancer treatment and being persistent in it. In other cases, some patients have been neglected by their families and friends; as such, doctors should be encouraging such patients to continue with radiotherapy which in the long run will make them feel better. Also, the doctors should show support to such patients by not stopping them from accessing chemotherapy and other forms of treatment. Additionally, they should also create avenues that the cancer patients can use to access money that they can spend on treatment. By that, they will instill optimism into the patients with the hope that they will get well soon.


Hospitals help reduce the stigma that is experienced by cancer patients. After the elimination of the stigma, the patients can proceed to optimism. Through intensive sensitization to the society, they will feel optimistic that they can overcome cancer. They should encourage people to do regular check-ups so that they can detect cancer at the early stages. Those that already have the diseases should be encouraged to go to the hospitals with the belief that they are going to heal. The hospitals should have a counseling department specially for cancer patients; through that they will be closer to these patients and understand their problems. Providing effecient counseling to cancer patients will give them a reason to fight through hoping that soon they must get well. Just like the support of relatives, the attention that the hospital gives these patients will determine how much they are going to fight for their lives. Patients who know that the hospital cares will have all the reasons not to give up but continue with the treatment and eventually will get well. For that reason, these victims are willing to pay any amount of money to make sure that they get the best treatment. People are spending millions of dollars to ensure that they get the best service. Hospitals should be equipped with the best technologies and equipment to increase the patients’confidence when they are seeking treatment. There are some confidence and assurance that comes with knowing that what you are receiving is the best that the society can get. Therefore, the hospitals should invest in the best cancer equipment and the best personnel to increase the optimism in the patients healing. There are case when a ptient is treated by a doctor whom of a doubtful qualification; instead of healing, these patients will even become sicker because of the doctor’s incompetence. On the other hand, when they are treated by a qualified professional, they will be confident about the information the doctor is passing.


Cancer is a disease that needs care; the patients need a combined efforts from the relatives, physicians, and the hospitals in the fight against the disease as much as they are fighting the disease themselves. The above-mentioned people should be optimistic to enable the victim to come out victoriously. Patients need to feel that there is a life worth living after undergoing the treatment. They will be encouraged to fight the disease at whatever cost. At an individual level, the doctors, relatives, and hospitals should be positive giving the patient the hope that he will heal; without that, very few ill people will have the energy to fight further. They will just give up on any treatment and even resist any help that they may be offered.