Stress is defined by a psychological condition where people constantly feel that they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. A certain level of stress is normal but its repeated experience for a longer period of time may lead to various health issues including cancer. Stress is usually caused due to the daily responsibilities of work & personal life when people find themselves under uncontrollable situations.
Cancer patients often feel that they have no control over the changes occurring due to the disease which leads to increased stress & anxiety in the patient. These feelings often keep the patient from healing as they should. They also hamper the quality of life for the cancer patient.
What happens to the body under stress?
Epinephrine and norepinephrine are two stress hormones that our body releases in response to physical, mental, or emotional pressure. These hormones increase blood pressure, blood sugar and fasten the heart rate which in turn helps people to act strongly during stressful situations.
Long-term or chronic stress can lead to digestive issues, fertility issues, urinary problems, and a weakened immune system.
How are stress & cancer-related?
Studies have shown that various psychological factors that occur due to stress can lead to cancer or at least increase the chances of cancer development. Stress can lead to cancer in several indirect ways. High levels of stress lead to certain behaviours like smoking, drinking alcohol or overeating which in turn increases the chances of cancer risk.
Stress & cancer patients:
The emotional burden of the disease is often harder than the physical pain for a cancer patient. For such people, their whole life goes through a major upturn, first after hearing that they have the disease and second during the phase when they have to learn & deal with the painful aspects of the treatment. Clinical studies also show that stress also accelerates tumour’s growth ability. These studies suggest that stress hormone such as norepinephrine can promote angiogenesis and metastasis. Although the mechanism of stress-inducing cancer is still not clear.
Some people try to ease this emotional burden by using effective stress management strategies such as yoga or meditation, which have been known to show effects on lowering depression, anxiety in the patients. Successful management of stress improves survival chances during cancer treatment.
How to cope with stress?
Letting go off or confiding strong feelings that cause stress are the best ways to cope up with it. Talking to your close-knit family and other cancer survivors relieves you and assures that you are not alone in this fight. Other ways include having a positive outlook towards life and believing that soon things will turn better for you. In the end, we all have to remember that cancer can happen to anyone irrespective of what they do or did not do. Therefore, going for early cancer screenings test is a good way to be alert against the disease and take precautionary measures before Cancer makes a tight grip on you!
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