Psycho-Oncology: How Unresolved Emotional Trauma Can Cause Cancer

(This article was published by the Canadian Holistic Nurses Association)

For decades now, research findings have indicated that the mind and body are intricately connected.  And furthermore, that our thoughts and emotions dictate the quality of our health and can cause specific chronic diseases.  This was overwhelmingly demonstrated in the findings of the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and later-life lack of health and well-being.  This is powerful information because we now know that one of the greatest defenses and cures against disease is a healthy brain and thought patterns.  Unfortunately, most treatments of chronic illnesses only involve the physical aspects of the body without looking to the ‘inner’ source that is often actually in charge.

One of the most leading diseases overloading the health care system is cancer.  One physician, Dr. Rkye Geerd Hamer found that unresolved emotional trauma causes cancer ( He used his personal experience of losing his son suddenly, and subsequently developing prostate cancer two years later.  As an OB-Gyne, he studied all of his patients who have developed cancer and then looked to see if they had any unresolved trauma in their lives. He discovered that ALL of his patients with cancer had sustained a trauma approximately 2 years earlier. He then later expanded his research to include other organs/sites of cancer and discovered that the type of trauma determined the part of the body that developed the cancer.

Dr. Hamer determined that there are 6 stages to stress causing cancer.

Stage 1: Inescapable shock

This usually occurs 18-24 months prior to the diagnosis of cancer, where the patient experiences a psycho-trauma, that affects deep sleep and the production of melatonin within the body. Melatonin is one of the primary hormones that inhibits cancer cell growth, through the production of interleukin 2. Interleukin 2 regulates the production of the white blood cells, which fight infections in the body. Due to the prolonged stress impacting sleep, the cancer cells thrive.

Depending on the part of the brain that was impacted by the trauma, each emotional reflex is connected to a different part of the body, thus why people develop different primary sites of cancer.

Stage 2: Adrenaline depletion

With the increased duress, an overabundance of cortisol levels (stress hormones) deplete the adrenaline levels in the adrenal glands. Through several physiological processes this creates the buildup of lactic acid in the cell, creating an acidic environment allowing for cancer fungus to develop, causing cell mutation.

Stage 3: The cancer fungus

During this stage, microorganisms, known as somatids change into yeast like fungus that ferment causing an increase in glucose and lactic acid. In a highly acidic environment, somatids pleomorphise into 13 stages releasing mycotoxins that inhibit both the cell DNA repair and the tumor suppressor gene (P53). This leads to the cell mutating and regenerating into cancer cells.

Stage 4: Niacin deficiency

The depleted adrenaline levels cause a decrease in dopamine in the brain, and dopamine is used to make adrenaline. As more dopamine is used during chronic stress, serotonin is created to correct the depressed mood. Tryptophan is used to create the serotonin, which results in a depletion of the tryptophan which is required to make niacin/niacinamide (Vitamin B3) for cell respiration. Normally tryptophan coverts niacin/niacinamide into NAD coenzymes that is used to create ATP for energy, however without the niacin and NAD coenzymes, the pathway is broken, causing further glucose fermentation to be used for energy, leading to cell mutation and the formation of cancer.

Stage 5: Vitamin C depletion

Decreased adrenaline levels due to prolonged stress causes a depletion of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Ascorbic acid is the main substance used by dopamine to make norepinephrine, that is converted to epinephrine in the adrenal glands. Also, during chronic stress, the adrenal glands release ascorbic acid into the body to help regulate heart rate and blood pressure, thus depleting it even further. Ascorbic acid is required to prevent cell DNA damage from oxidative stress, therefore the continual loss of ascorbic acid increased cell mitochondrial DNA damage and mutation causing more mutation to the normal cells into cancer cells.

Stage 6: Immune suppression

The immune system is shut down by the elevated stress hormones depleting serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain that leads to depression. This results in the feeling of fatigue, and wanting to end the pain and stress, sending messages to the immune system to shut down. It stops producing interleukin 2, T cells, B cells, white blood cells (macrophages and neutrophils). Without the immune system, the yeast like fungus from stage 3 continues to grow and create new cancer cells that will continue to multiply.

Dr. Hamer determined that those who did not seek help for their high chronic stress, anxiety, or PTSD, will likely develop cancer. He also noted that those who were able to get treatment for their stress, anxiety or trauma were also able to reverse the stages of progression, and in some cases, even cure the cancer. He determined that the person must heal the root psycho-emotional cause of cancer, for this to impact their cancer healing. Trauma defaults the brain in to a chronic worry state.  Dr. Hamer doesn’t cite specific treatment, but others working with him have used a “cancer survivor program” that includes:

Step 1: Healing the root psycho-emotional cause of cancer

Step 2: Systems change (removing stressful conditions)

Step 3: Active relaxing (to reduce stress cortisol levels)

Step 4: Using meditation to increase melatonin levels

Step 5: Supporting and or boosting the immune system

Step 6: Removing the cancer fungus

Step 7: Detoxing the liver and colon of toxins

Step 8: Restoring the Kreb’s cycle (manufacturing of ATP) with Niacin and Vitamin C

Step 9: Re-Alkalizing the body’s natural pH balance

Step 10: Connecting to your higher spiritual self

Step 11: Choosing an alternative cancer treatment

Nothing puts more stress on us than thinking negative thoughts and worrying all the time. Fear, worry, guilt and shame continually stress all of the major systems in the body. This science is known as Psychoneuroimmunology. Teaching clients how to use mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral strategies to develop positive and healthy thought patterns is crucial for the prevention and healing of cancer.  

Certified Integrative Health Coaches (Holistic Mental Health Coaches) are trained in techniques used to facilitate the process of deeper understanding and expanded awareness that overrides old tapes of negative thought and emotional patterns.  Ultimately, creating a synergy to assist clients in raising their consciousness while changing how they see themselves and their world.

Become a Registered Mental Health Coach through our 200-hour self-paced interactive accredited program.  What is unique about this coaching program is that it focuses on holistic mental health care — how the mind can be trained to aid in the healing of mental, emotional, and physical illnesses.  Start now – take up to a year to complete.  Get more information, download the program brochure and submit your application today.

Blog Post written by:

Dr. Nickerson's professional experience as a psychologist and personal passion for developing the mind-body-spirit connection have fueled her success and devotion to training individuals and organizations to foster whole wellness.

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