Posted: Mar 23, 2013 3:03 PM by CBS News
(CBS News) When it comes to treating cancer, it's not only about getting the best treatment, but having the right attitude. But the keys to your health go beyond the visit to the doctor. According to the American Cancer Society, emotions and feelings are an important part of coping with a cancer diagnosis.
"Positive mentality helps, but it's more than that," said Deepak Chopra, the founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. "You have to have a clear idea about where you stand, what the data is, where you want to go, your mission for health and well-being. You have to quiet in the mind. Instead of being positive all the time, a quiet mind is more helpful. What we call homeostasis. When the mind is quiet, your body is quiet and when your body is quiet, it accelerates and then things like that self-repair."
One of Chopra's patients, Kristi Russo, used these tactics during her battle with cancer.
"I was going to do whatever I had to do. I almost came out of body, and I almost watched my body go through the motions," she said of her initial diagnosis.
In March 2009, Russo was diagnosed with stage-three colorectal cancer, and after a series of doctor visits a 2 1/2 inch tumor was found and removed. After six weeks of radiation, she had a section of her colon removed, and she thought the worst was over.
When she went back for a CAT scan, the doctors told her that the cancer had spread to her lungs. After the second diagnosis, she was treated with chemotherapy plus a targeted medical treatment.
"And when they found another spot in my lungs, now I had stage-four, and now I had to follow that up with treatment. I thought at this point, Oh, this is serious, it's not just fixing it, and I need to make a change," said Russo. "We need to change the way we eat. We need to change the way we think. I'm a believer that your mind can help heal your body."
She's been cancer-free for three years and attributes a major part of her restored health to her altered eating habits. She started growing her own fruits and vegetables in the backyard and stopped eating preservatives. Instead of using store-bought foods, she tries to make as much fresh food as possible. She also believes that you have to sometimes physically walk away from something, if it's mentally going to put you in a bad place.
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