Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer will tell you that your stress levels increase instantly after the diagnosis – the uncertainty about your future… trips to the oncologist… medications and invasive treatments… the prospect of surgery… it’s not humanly possible to stay calm under those conditions.
And now, according to Australian researchers, all that stress is of no help on your road to recovery.
Keep calm and carry on?
Of course, it’s far easier said than done when it comes to taming your nerves and keeping your stress levels in check while you are dealing with cancer. However, it turns out that stress can turn your body into a “super highway” that allows cancer cells to spread 6 times faster than they would under stress-free circumstances.
When you’ve got cancer, your lymphatic system gets switched “on” to carry immune cells to fight illness. That’s why you often find “swollen glands,” or enlarged lymph nodes, close to a cancer site.
Normally, an immune response like this would be a good thing, but this latest study found that chronic stress changes that immune response in such a way that it gives cancer cells an escape route out of the tumour and into the rest of your body.
In the study on mice, the induction of stress actually increased the number and size of lymphatic vessels around cancer tumours. That, combined with an increased rate of lymphatic fluid flowing out of the tumour, sped up the movement of cancer cells into areas surrounding the tumour much faster. The researchers say that they’re using the study results to figure out how to use drugs to combat stress to make cancer treatments more effective.
Of course they are.
But you don’t need to take yet another prescription drug to keep your stress at bay – and not just for fighting cancer. As you know, stress has been linked to numerous health issues like headaches, insomnia, and even high blood pressure.
There are many natural supplements that can help ease anxiety and stress. For instance, ashwagandha has been shown to not only relieve stress and anxiety, but also aid sleep – and there’s nothing like a good night’s rest to keep your nerves in check.
In addition, a probiotic can balance your gut flora to make sure they’re sending more good signals to your brain than bad. It’s really incredible how much a dose of “good bacteria” can improve your mood. Remember: Your health begins and ends in your gut, and that includes your mental health!
Secondly, try a B vitamin complex of folic acid, B12 and B6. B vitamins play a key role in mood and mental function, and have been shown to reduce stress.
Finally, a little physical activity not only helps to relieve stress, it also improves your sleep quality.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Stress Causes Cancer to Spread Six Times Faster, newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/stress-cancer-spread-faster/2016/06/28/id/736044/
How stress turns the body into a ‘super highway’ for cancer and spreads the disease SIX times faster , dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3663142/Monash-University-research-shows-stress-turns-body-super-highway-spreads-cancer-faster.html
Physical Activity Reduces Stress, adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st