Limiting Beliefs in Healthcare

Recently, my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. She started to have symptoms back in March 08. Her regular doctor sent her to a specialist. Since there is a family history of colon cancer, she asked him about it. Here's what he said:

"People over 80 don't get cancer."

Looking back, I strongly suspect this belief prevented him from finding the apple-sized tumor that another doctor would find almost four months later.

I also suspect this young specialist got this limiting belief from a respected doctor at a teaching hospital.

Limiting Beliefs

While most limiting beliefs keep people from succeeding in life, limiting beliefs can also prevent people from seeing things they should see.

I've noticed the following pattern: About two years after my wife's mother died, her father developed a bone spur. The surgery to repair it resulted in his death. About two years after my aunt's husband passed away, she developed colon cancer. About two years after my dad passed away, my mom developed colon cancer. I asked the surgeon how old she thought mom's tumor was; she said two years.

I've known people who were fired from their job and developed cancer two years later.

Here's my point: I've known too many people who get sick or die within two years of losing a spouse, job or lifestyle. Over the last few months, I've helped my mother fill out reams of forms detailing her medical history. I've never seen a psychological profile on any of these forms that evaluates stress:

In the last 2-3 years, have you been:

  • widowed
  • divorced
  • fired
  • relocated

This doesn't mean that stress causes cancer, but it does mean that symptoms plus stress should encourage doctors to do a more thorough diagnosis. My mom describes modern medical care in this way: "I feel like a can of corn run over a scanner."

For the last 50 years, medicine has waged a "war on cancer." What do you use to fight a war? Chemical and nuclear weapons (chemo and radiation).

Recently, I've started seeing ads that suggest we need to "stand up to cancer". This again is more of a "fighting the bully" metaphor.

Maybe we need to sit down and have a chat with cancer. Many years ago, I spoke to a man who had been diagnosed with colon cancer. I asked him to ask his cancer what it's positive intention was for him. This kind of shocked him, but he went inside and asked. He got this answer: "Stop doing business with those as*hole partners."

He sold his interest in the business, went through treatment and stayed cancer free for a decade.

Here's my point:

What opportunities are you overlooking in your life and in your business because of limiting beliefs? What solutions are your caregivers overlooking because of limiting beliefs? My theory: the opportunities are unlimited, we just have to be able to see them. And limiting beliefs can block our view.

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