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Weinstock, C. (1977). Letter to the Editor. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 5(2):285-286.

(1977). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 5(2):285-286

Letter to the Editor

Charles Weinstock

Dr. Booth's paper, which appears in this issue, is especially timely in several respects. The medical schools are beginning to teach about cancer as a two-way process in which the host's immune resistance is an important-and quite variable-variable. This resistance decreases with depression.

The American Cancer Society sponsored an interdisciplinary psychophysiological conference on spontaneous regressions at Johns Hopkins University in May 1974. The psychiatrists present concluded that emotional and personality factors are important in the pathogenesis and course of cancer and (in this context) that spontaneous regressions are a significant phenomenon.

The number of “spontaneous” regressions officially validated for the American Cancer Society is now 1500. Ten years ago the first 222 were validated. The added 1278 derive from the interim 10 years and are largely unsolicited communications, whereas the first group came from the entire period 1900 - 1966 and were mostly from prior publications. Certainly we are witnessing an explosion in the respectability of and the reporting of a phenomenon.

Actually, we in the Psychosomatic Cancer Study Group know that the number of cases since 1900 is many times 1500. We know from experience that neither physicians nor hospitals generally report a “spontaneous” regression unless two or more are noticed in a short period of months. Of the eight cases known (as relatives or acquaintances) to those of us other than Dr.

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