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Ask the Expert: How does social interaction improve cancer survival odds?

How does Social Interaction improve cancer survival odds? (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - If someone you love has cancer and you are feeling helpless, a new study by the National Institutes of Health says you're not.

Breast Cancer Experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare want to share how your support could improve survival odds.

As a consultant in a shop for women, Cathy Hallora works with those surviving breast cancer.

“I am very grateful to love what I do, and do what I love,” said Cathy.

She is grateful, because as a 15-year survivor, she is also now part of the prescription for healing in cancer according to a new NIH study.

The study shows social interaction affects a patient’s response to treatment. It's one of the reasons Cathy spends time with those choosing a hairpiece or accessory.

“When your health is challenged you are so focused on getting through the day, they can't make those decisions for themselves,” said Cathy.

While those may seem like ordinary things that you do with your friends, picking out the right hat, or finding the right swimwear, could make a really big difference in recovery, it appears that it has to do with something to do with your immune response in the body, and that can make a difference in treatment outcomes.

“A lot of the treatments that we give people are immune based, whether they are trying to enhance your immune system response against your own cancer, that’s kind of where the future of things are going, anything that diminishes that response is negative,” said Dr. Michael Guenther of St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Dr. Guenther is a surgical oncologist who says he's see's the difference social interaction makes every day.

“Internalizing stress has been shown to have an immunologic that actually decreases cancer survival,” said Dr. Guenther.

That means if someone you love has breast cancer, you can help change the outcome by helping them.

Why not capitalize on something so free? It doesn't cost a single penny to go give some love, care and tenderness, and laughter, and laughter is the best medicine of all.

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