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January 23, 1978

Adaptive Mechanisms and Leukemia

JAMA. 1978;239(4):294. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280310026007

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To the Editor. —  I wish to raise a question about Sanders and Kardinal's article, "Adaptive Coping Mechanisms in Adult Acute Leukemia Patients in Remission" (238:952, 1977). They report that their patients returned each month for a week to a ward for patients with acute leukemia and experienced this return as a stress and a threat to their denial mechanism. Their leukemic patients, by continued contact with others with the same diagnosis, saw themselves as being like the other patients. Foreseeing their own death, they grieved and mourned each time another leukemic patient died.I wonder if patients with acute leukemia would be better off if they were not forced to associate with a large group of patients with the same diagnosis and not be forced to become aware of the death of each member of the group. Is it helpful to patients with acute leukemia who return to the