The Truth About Psychological Stress Leading to Cancer
Psychological stress describes what people feel when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. Although it’s normal to experience some stress from time to time, people who experience high levels of psychological stress – or who harbor it repeatedly over a long period of time – may have greater chances of suffering from dire health problems and increased cancer risk.
Stress can be caused both by daily responsibilities and routine events, as well as by more unusual events such as trauma, an illness in the family, or death of a loved one. It can also take place when you feel you have no control over a situation, such as long-term unemployment or having a falling out with a friend.
How about stress and cancer? Currently there’s no evidence that stress is a direct cause of the condition, but there’s accumulating proof that there is a certain link between the two. Unmanaged stress is also believed to affect how the disease progresses.
Chronic Stress and Your Health
Research has demonstrated that people experiencing intense, long-term stress can fall prey to a number of health issues, including digestion issues, fertility problems, urinary problems, and weakened immunity, according to Cancer.gov.
Chronic stress can also make you more prone to viral infections such as the common cold or the flu, as well as headaches, anxiety, and depression.
Hundreds of studies have already measured how stress impacts the immune system and our disease-fighting capabilities. Researchers out of Ohio State University, for instance, discovered that students under pressure had slower-healing wounds, as well as took longer to produce immune cells that kill foreign invaders.
Stress as a Risk Factor for Cancer
Despite the lack of conclusive evidence that psychological stress directly causes cancer, links between the two could be discussed several ways:
- People under stress may develop risky behaviors such as smoking and alcohol consumption
- A shared inherited risk factor if you have a relative with cancer
- The stress induced by a cancer diagnosis in the family
Studies have demonstrated, too, that women who went through traumatic life events or losses in recent years had substantially greater rates of breast cancer.
Psychological stress may also affect cancer patients, as the disease’s physical, social and emotional effects can prove to be stressful and make patient more prone to risky behaviors like smoking or substance abuse. A cancer patient may also become more sedentary or suffer a poorer quality of life after diagnosis and treatment.
In order to prevent cancer development, it is important to block foreign organisms from invading in the first place, as well as facilitate DNA repair of abnormal cells and T-cells’ ability to kill cancer cells. This natural defense mechanism of the body is compromised when you have too much stress, which lowers your immune system’s ability to recognize abnormal cells and kill them before they produce a tumor.
Power Up Against Stress
Again, stress is a normal part of everyday life, but once it gets out of hand or stays a little too long, it’s time to address its root cause and turn things around.
This leads to the critical importance of tapping into your energy reserves and really being at your best during the toughest challenges in life. Simple dietary and lifestyle strategies can make you win against psychological stress – try the following natural techniques:
- Consuming whole, raw, natural foods such as organic vegetables, fruits and omega 3-rich fish and other food sources
- Regular physical exercise, or at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity like walking or light jogging every day
- Getting plenty of restful sleep, or about 7-8 hours every night
- Managing your emotions and employing natural methods to fight stress, including meditation, journaling, listening to relaxing music, and yoga
- Natural supplementation for increased energy and stressor protection throughout the day