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Cancer is a physical illness characterized by the chaotic and uncontrollable growth of certain body tissues. Depending on the parts of the body effected and the rate of growth, cancers are considered more or less dangerous. What makes cancer dangerous is its degree of variation and adaptability. Cancer cells are quickly changing cells that are able to adapt rapidly to different environments.

Cancer Cells Healthy Tissue

Cancer Cells Are Less Structured and Grow More Quickly than Normal Cells

Cancer becomes life threatening when a person ’s immune system is unable to identify and effectively ‘absorb ’ or rid his or her body of proliferating cancer cells. The field of oncology has been stymied in its attempt to treat cancer because cancer cells have more flexibility, or “requisite variety, ” than the powerful chemical poisons and radiation treatments being used in the attempt to destroy them. At the beginning, these treatments are able to effectively kill many cancer cells (along with many healthy cells as well, unfortunately). Variations of the cancer cells, however, are eventually produced that are resistant to that treatment; leading to a reoccurrence of the cancer symptoms. Stronger and more deadly chemicals are tried, until a point is reached in which the therapy becomes life threatening to the patient, and no more can be done to help medically.
In some situations, a diagnosis of “cancer ” has been considered the equivalent of a “death sentence. ” Progress in both traditional and complementary methods of cancer treatment, however, have been challenging this perspective, and significantly extending survival rates.
In the early 1970 ’s, Carl and Stephanie Simonton demonstrated that the use of visualization and mental imagery seemed to greatly contribute to healing of some cancer patients. The Simontons characterized cancer cells as “weak and confused ” rather than as deadly invaders. They encouraged patients to visualize their immune system as strong and powerful, and able to aggressively clean the weak and confused cancer cells. Their techniques, described in their book Getting Well Again (1978), have lead to a great deal of exploration in the area of mind-body healing approaches to cancer treatment. NLP methods can be used to enhance the Simonton ’s basic approach, particularly in the areas of adding other representational systems (i.e., auditory and kinesthetic) as an adjunct to visualization, and in working with beliefs and belief systems.
A growing body of anecdotal evidence suggests that NLP can be an effective complementary treatment for many forms of cancer. One of the most well-known cases is that of Robert Dilts ’ mother, Patricia, who experienced a dramatic remission from metastatic breast cancer in the early 1980 ’s as a result of applying NLP principles and methods.
Some of the key elements involved in the NLP approach to cancer treatment involve:
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