Health Team

Cancer patients use creativity to help heal

Posted December 28, 2009

— A legend began after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, which ended World War II.

The subsequent radiation caused many people, including a young girl near the city, to develop cancer.

“As she was in the hospital, people would bring her paper, and she would fold cranes. The legend is, if you fold a thousand cranes, your wish comes true,” said Phillip Shoe, of the Duke University Medical Center.

Cancer patients at Duke Medical Center find origami is a great time-killer as they wait for appointments and treatments.

“We see it as kind of therapy, giving folks a chance to work together,” Shoe said.

The cancer clinic staff hoped to collect 1,000 cranes for a display but ended up with 2,500 cranes that patients and community members sent in, Shoe said.

Patients, staff and volunteers are also making holiday decorations.

Metastatic breast cancer patient Doris Ann Price says using her creativity puts her condition out of her mind for awhile. It also helps to put her in touch with a deeper source of healing.

“It’s the spirit that you bring into it – faith, whatever you want to call it. It's a very important component to healing,” Price said.

Price also enjoys the new friendships she has found with people of all backgrounds. That's why breast cancer survivor Claire Weinberg likes the story of the Japanese girl and the cranes.

“Maybe if we recognize this commonality that we share, that anyone could have cancer, maybe we could recognize that there aren't so many differences between us,” Weinberg said.


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  • scientistjo Dec 29, 2009

    Many cancers are curable due to the scientific and medical community making life-saving drugs. All this has happened in the last 30 years thanks to many people taking the war on cancer seriously. It's no "fraud", you now have a MUCH better chance of beating this disease than the previous generation. You're welcome. :)

  • CestLaVie Dec 29, 2009

    scientistjo: you sound typical of the medical industry. Oh wait. Maybe you're a part of the scientific community, judging by your golo name. Doesn't matter; you're still barking up the wrong tree.

    The type of radiation used in cancer treatment ALSO kills humans too; let's face it. The same goes for chemo. People die MORE from the effects of these 2 treatments than from the cancer itself.

    And, you don't know the people whom I know who have beaten & reversed cancer with nutritional & lifestyle changes, WITHOUT chemo, radiation, surgery or other drugs. THIS is the answer most don't know about or even want to know about. It's too easy to just pop a pill today or just follow blindly what the medical community says to do.

    Also, if cancer has been around since the beginning of time, how many more decades & how many more gazillions of dollars are we going to throw at the Amer Cancer Society so they can chase that cure???? One more fraud wasted on American people.

  • scientistjo Dec 29, 2009

    First, radiation therapy isn't exactly the same as the atomic bomb. Radiation targets fast dividing cells, like those in a tumor, damages their DNA, and leads to cell death. It is not perfect, but dying of cancer whilst doing nothing is the alternative.

    Second, humans have gotten cancer since the beginning of time. Even those with wonderful diets and active, healthy lifestyles get cancer! These things reduce risk; however, no one is exempt.

  • CestLaVie Dec 29, 2009

    While I understand this creative therapy, is anyone REALLY reading the beginning words of this article: "The subsequent radiation caused many people, including a young girl near the city, to develop cancer."

    So WHY does EVERYONE accept radiation as treatment for cancer, when it causes it?????????????????

    This whole subject is so exasperating, when it doesn't have to be. People are suffering through all this, when they don't have to be. We are watching others suffering through all this, when we don't have to be. Poor diet, nutrition, & all the garbage in & on foods are killing us. Why are millions & millions of people accepting the status quo of treatment????????????