SPIRIT You can see the good in tough times. THE MIND OF A CANCER FIGHTER How much does optimism play a role in overcoming cancer? 16 FA L L 2017 You know she means well, but it's not that simple-especially when it comes to a serious diagnosis like cancer. Still, many people claim positivity has great power. Is there something to it? "This is a somewhat controversial area," says Tenbroeck Smith, the strategic director of patient-reported outcomes for the American Cancer Society. "The literature shows mixed results. Some studies show having a positive attitude is better for you. Then there are PHOTO BY GLOW IMAGES Everybody has that one friend. You know the one. The one who's always happy and upbeat. You complain about how your kids are stressing you out, and she says, "You're a great mom!" You lose your job, and she says, "You'll get a new one in no time!" And then you tell her, "I have cancer." Her reply? "Just be positive!"