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Stress and Cancer

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Being chronically stressed can take a significant negative toll on your health. It can affect your immune system, your sleep, your weight, increase your risk of heart disease, and some studies show that it might even help cancer spread.

Study Shows Cancer Spreads Faster in Stressed Mice

In a recent study, it was shown that mice that were stressed experienced faster spread of cancer than those that were not (MacDonald, 2016). The explanation given for this is that adrenaline, released in response to stress, increases the flow of lymph, and the lymphatic system is a prime way for cancer to spread throughout the body.

While studies have not shown a direct link between stress and the development of cancer, it is known that people with cancer who use positive stress-relief techniques like meditation and breathing exercises have lower anxiety and depression associated with their cancer and its treatment than those who do not manage their stress positively (Psychological Stress and Cancer, 2012).

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Ways to Manage Stress if You Have Cancer

Being diagnosed with cancer might be one of the most stressful things that can happen to a person. The associated treatment can also cause physical and psychological stress. Here are some ways to help yourself manage the stress:

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  • Exercise, if your doctors OK it, can help release psychological stress.
  • Deep breathing exercises calm your mind and your body.
  • Yoga and meditation are both powerful relaxation techniques.
  • Reframing techniques like this one can help you approach things more positively.
  • Do what you can to maintain good sleep.
  • Stay as social as possible.

Works Cited

  1. MacDonald, F. (2016, March 3). Study Finds That Chronic Stress Really Does Spread Cancer in The Body. Retrieved from Science Alert.
  2. Psychological Stress and Cancer. (2012, Dec. 10). Retrieved from National Cancer Institute.

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