A cancer diagnosis is probably one of the most stressful things anyone could ever go through. There are the trips to your oncologist, invasive treatments and therapies… and their associated side effects… not to mention the emotional impact on you and your family.
It’s enough to make even the strongest and calmest person buckle at the knees.
Keep calm… as much as you can
You know as much as I do that stressing about something has never made anything easier… no matter what you stress about. And it’s also a well-known fact that stress has been linked to countless health problems like headaches, insomnia, and even high blood pressure.
Now, a new study has shown that stress can also be particularly damaging to your body if you’ve got cancer.
According to Australian researchers, stress can turn your body into a cancer “super highway” that allows cancer cells to spread SIX TIMES faster than they would under stress-free circumstances.
For the study, the researchers placed mice with cancer in confined spaces in order to mimic the physiological and emotional effects of stressed humans. Their findings showed that the induction of stress actually increased the number and size of lymphatic vessels around the tumour. That, combined with an increased rate of lymphatic fluid flowing out of the tumour, was like routing the cancer cells down an empty, super-fast highway.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Erica Sloan, a cancer biologist at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: “Stress is sort of acting like a fertiliser and helping the tumour cell take hold and colonise those other organs… Stress creates physical routes out of the tumour that provide a physical pathway for the cancer to spread.”
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, around a cancer site.
An immune response like this would normally be a good thing, but researchers in the 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.
The researchers say that they’re using the study results to figure out how to use drugs to combat stress to make treatments more effective.
Of course they would explore potential drug treatments… but remember there are ways that you can begin to combat stress right now, without taking any additional drugs.
Working closely with your doctor or alternative health practitioner, you can look to incorporate known stress-busters into your regimen including moderate daily exercise and supplementing with probiotics, a vitamin B-complex (especially folic acid, B12 and B6) and ashwagandha.
And even if there is just one thing you do to lower your stress levels (and it has absolutely no side effects) then it is to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.
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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