Quotes by Dr. Bernie Siegel to Inspire & Uplift You

Inspirational and uplifting quotes for the cancer journey
Studies show that spending money and traveling a long distance actually help a patient get well. There’s a strong urge to be able to say, ‘I got my money’s worth.’ Moreover, the effort shows a high level of motivation. Such a patient will invariably listen to the physician’s advice and act on it.
— Dr. Bernie Siegel, MD

"Don’t do things to not die but do things to enhance the quality of your life and you may be surprised by how long you do live."

"Sir William Osler, the brilliant Canadian physician and medical historian, said that the outcome of tuberculosis had more to do with what went on in the patient’s mind than what went on in his lungs. He was echoing Hippocrates, who said he would rather know what sort of person has a disease than what sort of disease a person has."

"The state of the mind changes the state of the body by working through the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system."

"Exceptional patients manifest the will to live in its most potent form. They take charge of their lives even if they were never able to before, and they work hard to achieve health and peace of mind. They do not rely on doctors to take the initiative but rather use them as members of a team, demanding the utmost in technique, resourcefulness, concern, and open-mindedness. If they’re not satisfied, they change doctors."

"I hope to reach beyond your rational mind, for miracles don’t come from the cold intellect. They come from finding your authentic self and following what you feel is your own true course in life."

"I prefer terms like 'creative' or 'self-induced' healing, which emphasize the patient’s active role."

"Physicians must realize that the patients they consider difficult or uncooperative are those who are most likely to get well."

"One of the best ways to make something happen is to predict it. Pooh-poohed for some twenty years by the medical establishment, the placebo effect—the fact that about one-fourth to one-third of patients will show improvement if they merely believe they are taking an effective medicine even if the pill they are taking has no active ingredient—has now been accepted as genuine by most of the profession."

"Dr. Howard Brody of Michigan State asserts that a positive placebo response occurs when three factors are optimally present: the meaning of the illness experience for the patient is altered in a positive manner; the patient is supported by a caring group; and the patient’s sense of mastery and control over the illness is enhanced. Nearly all so-called primitive medicine uses the placebo factor via rituals that foster assurance in the healing force, whether it is defined as an external god or an internal energy. Faith healing relies on the patient’s belief in a higher power and the healer’s ability to act as a channel to it. Sometimes a mere artifact or saint’s relic is conduit enough. For a believer a bottle labeled Lourdes Holy Water has healing properties even if there’s only tap water in it."

" 'Primitive' medicine is actually much more sophisticated than ours in the use of the mind, perhaps because it has fewer drugs that are effective without help from the placebo effect."

"Statistics are important when one is choosing the best therapy for a certain illness, but once that choice is made, they no longer apply to the individual."

"It takes enormous strength to do this when the voice of authority is telling you you’re supposed to die. The problem is, exceptional patients are a minority. If eight out of ten patients are not survivors, it’s easy to ignore the two who potentially are."

"I’m happy when patients express anger at me, because it means they feel safe with me, that we have a good relationship and they are behaving like survivors."

"Ask patients what they think caused the problem, what threats and losses (or gains) it represents to them, and how they believe it should be treated."

Dr. Francis Peabody, a pioneering medical researcher at Harvard in the 1920s said, “The treatment of a disease may be entirely impersonal; the care of a patient must be completely personal…the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.”

"Neglect of the mind-body link by technological medicine is actually a brief aberration when viewed against the whole history of the healing art."

"The modern medicine man has gained so much power over certain diseases through drugs, however, that he has forgotten about the potential strength within the patient."

"The level of stress is determined partly by society. Cultures that place the highest value on a combination of individualism and competition are the most stressful. Those that seem to produce the least stress and have the lowest rates of cancer are close-knit communities in which supportive, loving relationships are the norm, and the elderly retain an active role. Religious faith and a fairly open, accepting attitude toward sexuality are two other common characteristics of low-cancer societies."

"A vigorous immune system can overcome cancer if it is not interfered with, and emotional growth toward greater self-acceptance and fulfillment helps keep the immune system strong."

"Lack of emotional outlet is a common theme in the histories of cancer patients."

Selye discussed how he reacted to it in an exceptional way: “I was sure I was going to die, so I said to myself, ‘All right now, this is about the very worst thing that could happen to you, but there are two ways you can handle this; either you can go around feeling like a miserable candidate on death row and whimper away a year, or else you can try to squeeze as much from life now as you can.’ I chose the latter because I’m a fighter, and cancer provided me with the biggest fight of my life. I took it as a natural experiment that pushed me to the ultimate test whether I was right or wrong. Then a strange thing happened. A year went by, then two, then three, and look what happened. It turned out that I was that fortunate exception….”

"When a patient chooses a form of therapy out of conviction, while accepting the fact that death is inevitable someday, that patient will never be a failure and never regret the decision."