NATHAN SCHNAPER, M.D.; PETER H. WIERNIK, M.D.
SCHNAPER N, WIERNIK PH. Pseudocancer Symptoms in Coping. Ann Intern Med. 1982;96:257. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-96-2-257_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1982;96(2):257.
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To the editor: A defensive pattern used by husbands or wives for dealing with the emotional effects on them of the spouse's cancer begs for attention. While our reporting is admittedly anecdotal, such cases are no longer occasional ones in our experience.
The husband or wife (mostly wives), previously healthy, presents with various aches and pains: headaches, backaches, leg aches, abdominal pain. Careful studies turn up no findings or minimal findings. Soon the words, "I think I have cancer," or similar statements are heard. The concern for symptoms seems to be precipitated by a worsening of the ill spouse's prognosis.
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