A shapely 21 year old blond walking through a slum neighborhood alone at 3 am in a bikini believing she will not be molested is not a positive mental attitude.
With the disease of cancer, a positive mental attitude is not just closing your eyes to all the facts and factors and saying, “Hey, I’m going to get well.” That is wishful thinking or blind faith or lying to yourself or maybe even denying that you have a serious disease. Whatever it is, it is not a positive mental attitude.
For a driver to state they will never get in a car accident is wishful thinking. But to state that they will drive defensively, obey all laws, never drink and drive, never drive when tired, maintain their car in a safe condition, etc. and they will try their best not to get in an accident is PMA (positive mental attitude).
PMA (Positive mental attitude) with the disease of cancer is recognizing that you have a life threatening disease. Generally there is a chance to beat it but if you miss that chance, often there is no second chance. It is finding out all you can about your specific kind and stage of cancer including statistics, state-of-the-art treatment, all other possible treatments, who qualified doctors are, getting second opinions and making a commitment to do everything else that could possibly help you fight your disease.
Then, and only then, can you say that you realize that you have a life threatening disease but that statistics say that 2% or 98% of people with your specific problem survive. Furthermore, you are not a statistic. You are an individual with better than average intelligence, support, medical care, desire to live, determination, dedication or whatever your attributes might be. You are going to make that commitment to do absolutely everything that could possibly help without questioning it. You are going to do your best to be part of that 20 out of 1,000 or whatever who make it. That is positive mental attitude.
It might also be described as honest, genuine hope. There is no such thing as false hope if you base it on facts and recognize all the honest figures. Some well meaning physicians seeing so many cases with a poor prognosis and not wishing to be “blamed” for adverse results, tend to take away all hope at diagnosis. It is very easy to see why. If they would only realize that their prediction will generally tend to fulfill itself if left uncontested and the quality of life is so much worse waiting to die than fighting to live. As long as there is one single protocol available for the individual patient, there is reason for honest hope.
While being the predictor of doom and gloom, they talk about the evils of false hope. False hope is the blond walking in a bikini in a bad neighborhood alone at 3 am hoping not to be molested. False hope would be the cancer patient blindly stating they will get well while refusing medical treatment or not doing other things that might conceivably help.
Probably the main key to a positive mental attitude or honest, genuine hope is making that commitment to do absolutely everything that could possibly help without questioning or excusing. Then and only then do you have your best chance of being among the victors.