Illness, the mind, and the body: Cancer and immunology: An introduction

From the sixties on it has become clear how the human physical condition could be influenced by human behavior. Although hypothesis were lacking to understand these connections, nursing research especially proved how systematically introduced patient behavior during illness and hospitalization could induce better recovery results and better prognosis for the patient.Information andattitude proved to be crucial elements in these processes of improved patient expectations. It took less than two decades to get to the insights we have in 1994. Recent research shows the interlocking mechanisms of nervous and endocrine systems with the immune system as significantly being influenced by behavior and especially psychic and or psychosocial stress.This special issue of Theoretical Medicine briefly describes the historical development with contributions on the most recent state of the scientific art. These developments are emphasized by discussion on the clinical reality of the (breast) cancer patient and recent findings on the complexity of the prevalence of cancer in epidemiology. An attempt is made to consider practical consequences of the actual knowledge if applied to patient care.
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