Can a dream warn you about cancer?

Read what one physician — and breast cancer patient — experienced

Some people may be surprised to learn that a physician would credit a dream, in part, for early diagnosis of her breast cancer. Erin Frazier, M.D., credits a vivid dream for helping convince her to get the lump she detected in her breast checked out.

Dr. Frazier is a pediatrician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Broadway. Her cancer journey began in March 2013.

At age 38 and with no significant family history of breast cancer, she wasn’t overly alarmed when she felt a small lump in her breast. As a medical professional, she knew cancerous tumors are usually hard, firm and typically do not move a great deal. Her lump felt to her more like a nodule or cyst, both of which are common in many women.

After ignoring the lump for several months, one night Dr. Frazier dreamed she had breast cancer. Though she remembers few details of the dream, she recalls it was exceptionally vivid.

“The next morning I scheduled an appointment with my physician to have it checked out,” she said. “I was shocked when the radiologist came in to do my ultrasound and told me she was 98 percent sure I had breast cancer.”

The good news is Dr. Frazier’s cancer was diagnosed early, before it had spread. After chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, a year of infusions and ongoing medication, she continues to do well. This May marked five years since her diagnosis, and she remains cancer-free.

Numerous experts and sources have looked at whether dreams can warn us about cancer (and other serious health issues). Recent books, television medical shows, Internet articles and research studies have explored the precognitive power of dreams.

The connection between body, mind and spirit is nothing new in medicine. It has been studied and practiced for centuries. Modern health care uses many complementary therapies — such as yoga, massage and acupuncture — whose benefits are supported by evidence-based research.

As it happens, Dr. Frazier’s experience is more common than you might think. Those who study warning dreams report they often seem more vivid and intense than an ordinary dream.

Dr. Frazier offers no hard explanations. Perhaps, she suggests, subconsciously her mind held some ongoing fear about the lump. As a person of faith, she likes to think of the dream as a message from a loving God who wants her to do good in the world.

“It’s not for me to tell others what to believe, but as a physician one important message I think we can take from this is pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you,” she said.

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