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Larbert, Scotland, United Kingdom

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Choose cancer, choose life?

This Scotsman.com article is suggesting that there will be a 3-day course in Edinburgh next week which will try to help people choose not to have cancer or anorexia.

The group says it can help people with a range of illnesses, including cancer, and also those with eating disorders, alcohol and drug addiction. Wolter van Verschuer, a Course in Miracles member, said: "We want to change the way that people think about life. It will make you look in a different way at yourself. It has a complete basis on the teachings of Jesus Christ." The organisation's website includes controversial statements suggesting illnesses such as cancer are a person's own choice. It states: "No-one suffers pain except his choice elects this state for him. No-one can grieve, nor fear, nor think him sick unless these are the outcomes that he wants. And no-one dies without his own consent." Mr van Verschuer admitted this was a tough stance, but he invited people with cancer and other diseases to go to the event, adding: "Sickness is a decision that you have made."

This seems a little at odds with most modern evidence based medicine and current western medical opinion. However, some studies have shown that prayer can improve a patients condition and shorten their hospital news (great news for NHS administrators). It is a well respected 'fact' that a positive attitude from the patient and their close family and friends is beneficial to their condition (for a public recent example, look at Jane Tomlinson), the opposite that people who worry about conditions can 'choose' to get them seems a little far fetched.

The two quotes from representatives of Scottish Charities associated with chronic illness/cancer seem to sum up the situation succinctly:
"Some people do find some help and comfort in their religion, but to say that people choose to have it is ridiculous." "Dementia is an illness and people need help and support to cope with it, not to be taken advantage of by outfits peddling miracle cures."

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