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C. How The Very Ill Improve Their Odds Of Survival

Narrator: This is Science Today. The will to live is something we all have, but some people have a stronger will than others. Oncologist Ernest Rosenbaum of the University of California, San Francisco, says it can make all the difference when it comes to surviving a life-threatening disease.

Rosenbaum: The reason is that if you have a driving will to live and survive, you'll do things out of the ordinary. You'll mobilize all your resources, your family, your friends, join support groups, you'll do many things to help improve your odds of survival.

Narrator: So how can one strengthen their will to live?

Rosenbaum: You've got to do two things....improve both quality of life and survival but by getting them into the action mode where they'll be able to help themselves. Get psychiatric help, get coping help because it's probably coping that helps you override the impediments of all that you have to go through to get well.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.