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Dr. Gabor Maté on the Cancer Connections Podcast


Cancer Connections is a brand new podcast hosted by Hillary Theakston who is the Executive Director of the Clearity Foundation. She, and her first guest, Dr. Gabor Maté discuss stress, cancer, and healing. I promised to share all I am learning about ACEs, trauma, cancer, and healing. Here are a few quotes from this important conversation:

“So It’s really very simple, stress is not an isolated psychological event. In fact, from a medical point of view, stress is not psychological at all, it’s a physiological event. So the stress reaction has to do with the body’s stress response mechanisms.”
Dr. Gabor Maté

“Stress is response to some kind of perceived threat whether it’s the loss of life or the loss of something that’s very important to you, like food supply and so on. So the stress response allows us to deal with the threat in the short term. However, when people are stressed in the long term, those same stress hormones and those same stress mechanisms that increase your heartbreak, and elevate your blood pressure, and put more sugar in your system so you have more energy, and suppress inflammation and all that, In the short term, but if they continue for a long time, they think your bones, they ulcerate your intestines, they give you high blood pressure, They give you heart disease, they make you depressed, and they suppress your immune system.”  Dr. Gabor Maté

“There’s a very simple pathway between stress and malignancy - through the nervous system, through the immune system, and through the hormonal apparatus, and by the agitation and the promotion of cancer-producing genes in the body.”
Dr. Gabor Maté

“As a family doctor, I had a certain advantage over the specialists in that I knew the people before they got sick - so I had a chance to see well what kind of patters do show up in people that do get ill?. By the time you see a specialist the diagnosis has been made, or even if the diagnosis has not been made, the organ system in which the disease shows up has been identified.” Dr. Gabor Maté

“So the specialist never sees you before you got ill. So they don’t know you. And not only that, in their training nothing prepares them for them to want to get to know you, about your life history, about your multi-generational emotional history, about stresses in your family, in your particular existence, how you feel about yourself. These are not questions doctors are even trained to ask.”  Dr. Gabor Maté

"Women with severe PTSD have double the risk of ovarian cancer. And those women, whose symptoms have abated, because of treatment possibly, their risk goes down. Well, if it was only that one study that should be enough. PTSD is only one form of stress."

"If that was the only study linking stress and ovarian cancer, that should be enough to send every physician that deals with gynecological cancer to start asking questions, and to get to know the life of their patients. Now the reality is that when you talk to people, you often find childhoods of severe stress, and very often trauma, and that's where they learn these patterns, and not only that, we know that childhood stress and trauma cause physiological changes, it changes how your genes work, it changes how your immune system works, it increases inflammation and promotes the onset of disease including cancer, so on and so on and so on."

  • To listen to more interviews with Dr. Gabor Maté, go here.
  • To learn more about the Clearity Foundation, go here
    • To listen to the Cancer Connection podcast, go here.  
      • To learn more about the podcast host, Hillary Theakston, go here.

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FABULOUS!!! Thank you for sharing this important conversation that needs to happen!  You ROCK!!!

It's a super interesting interview. I always love listening to Dr. Gabor Maté and to hear him speak specifically, from his experiences as a family doctor, who has done palliative care, and knows a lot about the trauma/stress/disease connection as well as healing, in general, and how that all relates to ovarian cancer, in particular, was excellent. It's a reminder to prioritize healing - always - and hopefully inspires doctors and oncologists and surgeons to have longer conversations with patients and maybe even to help new directions for research.

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