Dr. Roy Sessions observes that, in his experience, “people with strong faith in the Deity and an associated afterlife generally are able to go through the cancer experience more easily than those who do not possess such beliefs.” He goes on to note:
According to a February 2009 feature article in Time magazine that was written by Jeffrey Kluger(1), a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that faith may bring better health, and to quote one of the expert contributors to this article, Dr. Andrew Newberg, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, “A large body of science shows a positive impact of religion on health.” That the power of faith and prayer are applicable to the biology of cancer medicine seems to be somewhat of a stretch, and even more so to say that miracles occur. That said, I should note that I have seen some amazing things in people who I thought had no chance to get well. Important to remember also is the rare but real occurrence of cancer’s spontaneous remission. Not uncommonly, tumors cease growing and exist in a relative state of dormancy for years. Whether the result of the body’s immune system, an aberration of tumor biology, or the miracle that many religious people firmly believe in, the reader is urged not to automatically label these events as the quirky fantasies of religious fundamentalists. The following are just a few of the research institutes devoted to studying the association of religion and medicine as their main focus: Center for Spirituality and the Mind, University of Pennsylvania; Center for Spirituality and Healing, University of Minnesota; Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Duke University; and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health. There are a number of very intelligent scholars who are studying the body’s physiologic link to spiritual forces, and as with all alternative approaches to human disease, we should offer support and succor to such investigations. While doing so, however, we should continue the implementation of standard, science-based cancer evaluation and treatment. Because knowledge begets more knowledge, molecular biology and genetics have fostered a scientific revolution that is probably only the beginning of a period of exponential intellectual growth. The knowledge of the neurochemistry that links the brain and disease is still in its infancy.
The entire article can be found here.