"Laugh Therapy" Helping Cancer Patients - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/16/07

"Laugh Therapy" Helping Cancer Patients

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This year, about 1.4 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States.

Cancer diagnosis and treatment can take a physical and emotional toll on the body. So, specialists at some cancer centers are now offering "Laugh Therapy" as part of the treatment program. It's an effort to at least ease anxiety and stress and help cancer patients cope with the effects of their illnesses.

Gerri Gelmont, an R.N. with Cancer Centers of America says, "You're stimulating the internal organs because your muscles are moving in and out. You're breathing, opening up the lung passage ways, you've got the circulation going."

"I'm ready to start laughing now, I'm sorry, but it's the first time, the first experience and it was quite an experience, it was a lot of fun," said J.J. Santoro, a cancer patient.

The theory is that laughter stimulates positive physical changes in the body by releasing endorphins, the body's "feel-good" hormones. Some researchers even suggest that humor can increase a person's tolerance to pain.

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