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Home  /  Integrative Cancer Care  /  Mind  /  Healing Versus Curing Cancer

Healing Versus Curing Cancer

By Jeannine Walston

Healing Versus Curing CancerCancer patients and their loved ones are often focused on finding a cure for cancer. This inner conviction can help to cope with a cancer diagnosis, ignite motivation and hope, find the best cancer treatments, maintain strength during cancer therapies, and support body-mind-spirit during and after cancer.

Exploring Healing
Along with curing cancer, and when curing is not possible, cancer patients may also focus on healing. Dynamic and delightful, gritty and graceful, powerful and profound, healing means different things to different people. Healing often involves resourcing and restoring wholeness.

How do you define healing and curing in your own life?
Everyone deals with cancer in a unique way. The process of engaging healing versus curing cancer is individual to each person. Thinking about what healing and curing means to you may offer new insights, self-knowledge and awareness, goals, aspirations, and action.

Living with and beyond cancer, a focus on achieving certain goals may help fuel efforts to impact cancer outcomes. Goals are influenced by the worldview and belief systems of each unique person and may evolve based on new circumstances and experiences. Planning and plotting action may support both healing and curing cancer. At the same time, the road to healing and curing cancer cannot be precisely defined in the midst of uncertainty. In reality, every person lives without knowing the future. People affected by cancer, including patients and their loved ones, are often more acutely reminded that life is unpredictable.

Possibility of Transformation
The chaotic nature of cancer with uncertainty and unpredictability also contains tremendous possibility. The crisis of cancer ignites evolution. People affected by cancer are often motivated to explore new directions. Openness to change emerges. Perceptions of expectations about what should be begin to redefine themselves. People may come to realize that they influence versus control. Surrendering to this universal truth brings ease in the midst of disease. The willingness to flow through life moment to moment without grasping onto attachments invites a new sense of freedom.

Your own definitions of healing versus curing cancer are areas you can consider now and into the future.

  • How do you define healing and curing?
  • What are your goals?
  • What and where can you influence?
  • What empowers you?
  • How do you define your power?
  • What inspires you?
  • How do you support your body, mind, and spirit with self-care?

Know that deep power resides in any struggle and vulnerability you may perceive.

Healing involves many levels of each human being. Even the U.S. government acknowledged that reality.

“Cancer is no simple disease, and effective treatment is not just about killing rogue cells with radiation and chemotherapy. It is about healing the human being.”
Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs by The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine

Along with a focus on curing cancer, healing is another process cancer patients pursue to support their body-mind-spirit with and beyond cancer. Healing the human body and being is a dynamic process for people with or without cancer. Life is a healing journey and cancer can be viewed as an opportunity to potentially discover new depths of being alive. Definitions of healing can help people affected by cancer identify personal insights into their healing process of body, mind, and spirit by exploring different perspectives. The ways in which you engage and relate to your healing through cancer are for you to define.

-to make or restore to wholeness

-to restore to health
-to cause an undesirable condition to be overcome
-to patch up a breach or division
-to restore to original purity or integrity

Differences between Healing Versus Curing Cancer

Curing addresses the disease. Healing is not about absence of disease.
 Even when curing is not possible, there is opportunity for healing.
 Healing comes from an individual’s core and can be accessed regardless of internal or external circumstances. As disease may contain disconnect, disharmony, and dismemberment, healing involves connection, harmony, and remembering. Anyone can engage healing. 
Healing is possible with or without a cancer diagnosis. Healing is available to each and every one of us.

More Perspectives on Healing Through Cancer

What does healing mean to you? Define it for yourself. Healing is highly individual. Your process for healing is unique and a reflection of your journey. Nobody can define what healing means for you or anyone else. The following quotes offer some perspectives, experiences, and thoughts about healing.

“Healing is a dynamic process of recovery, repair, restoration, renewal, and transformation that increases resilience, coherence, and wholeness.”
-Wayne Jonas,MD, Samueli Institute for Information Biology

“Healing literally means wholeness (holy and heal). It implies bringing the rejected and discarded parts of ourselves into the circle, and listening with the inward ear for those parts that have been silenced, seeking a deeper, more accurate creative engagement with ourselves and the world. Healing implies a restoration of communication with ourselves—we have become deaf to hearing the language of our own hearts as they speak to us.”
-Lora Matz, MS, LICSW

“Healing isn’t something that you do and put away on a shelf, it’s a dynamic equilibrium that has to be maintained daily, in every decision and every conversation, and it can be jeopardized by every choice you make.  Sometimes I’m no longer challenged by bodily symptoms, but I’m constantly challenged by the body of my life.”
-Marc Ian Barasch, The Healing Path

“A state of mind and being with a commitment to self-inquiry and openness to transformation, healing involves exploring the profound depths of self and all of life. Sometimes necessitating major life changes, healing demands thinking and feeling outside one’s box and awakening hidden vitality through freeing buried aspects of self. Embracing innate wholeness, engaging an expansive connection to Self, and experiencing life as a spiritual journey invigorates healing.”
-Jeannine Walston