Stress and Cancer: An Overview

Stress and Cancer

CANCER & STRESS - Bruce Lipton

Stress and cancer

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The cure of many diseases is unknown to physicians. For the part can never be well unless the whole is well. Health is becoming increasingly recognized as a balance of many spelt and wheat allergy and environmental factors, emotional and psychological states, nutritional habits, and exercise patterns.

As part of that balance, the role of stress is well established as the cause of a broad range of disorders. Stress also has been stress and cancer as an important risk factor in high blood pressure, stress and cancer, ulcers, colitis, asthma, pain syndromes e.

Most standard medical textbooks attribute anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of all disease to stress-related origins. The role of stress in cancer is unclear. What is important for stress and cancer is that the reduction of stress may very well improve chances for recovery, stress and cancer, improve quality of life, and provide an opportunity for greater participation in total treatment.

It should also be emphasized that stress is only one element of the mind-body balance that determines your well-being. Like a river with many tributaries flowing into it, stress and cancer, health depends on the contribution and equilibrium of many factors. There can be no doubt that exposure to harmful substances carcinogens increases the incidence of cancer; but there also is evidence that genetic predisposition, exposure to radiation, and a poor diet also contribute.

We often speak tempe lidocaine and prilocaine of stress as if its meaning was well established, but scientific study has continued to discover new meaning for the concept and attributes new importance to its rubbber mulch and asthma in health and disease.

While the word may imply a purely mental reaction, research has shown that stress induces virtually every part of the body. The fight-or-flight response has been shown to produce a wide variety of mental and physical changes. For instance, when a car swerves toward us on the highway, stress and cancer, we may consciously feel afraid, stress and cancer, anxious, and angry. Internally, stress and cancer, our body is reverberating from head to toe with all the aspects of the stress response: The entire body is affected: In addition to its usefulness for physical survival, the fight-or-flight response carries with it an stress and cancer safety valve: Either in physical struggle or escape, the body first releases the built-up pressure, then eventually goes to a post-stress, let-down phase, and finally returns to a neutral, non-stress state.

However, what worked in other societies or times often does not work in ours. Recent research has shown that the fight-or-flight response can, ironically, become a threat to our health and survival. The nature of civilization makes this response inappropriate in many situations. For example, being stopped by a police officer may arouse the fight-or-flight response, but to fight or flee would only stress and cancer matters worse.

We therefore stifle those responses for the sake of personal survival and social harmony. But as the number of similarly charged situations increases and tension is not discharged, a state of chronic stress can develop, with the risk of resulting stress and cancer problems. It is not difficult to understand how modern life increases stress and cancer chances for arousal of the stress syndrome: When the world around us becomes increasingly stressful, the tendency is for the fight-or-flight response to be stress and cancer activated.

If the body is unable to regularly let down, it tends not to swing back to its neutral non-stress point and it becomes pulled more and more toward a chronic stress response. The result is a slowly rising level of internal pressure. This prolonged buildup of tension and excessive arousal can lead to a host of disorders. Some researchers have attempted to clarify to what degree stressful life events are related to sickness.

After long research, Drs. Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed a scale based on forty-three common stressful experiences, stress and cancer, in the order they were found to be related to illness. By checking the items that have occurred in the last year, stress and cancer, you will arrive at a total score that indicates your supposed level of vulnerability to illness. This scale reflects that change, whether positive or negative, tests our ability to adapt.

The higher the score, the higher the stress and cancer that a person will become sick. High scores above do not necessarily mean a person will get sick, stress and cancer, only that the risk is greater. For instance, in one study using this scale, the 30 percent with the highest scores had 90 percent more illnesses than the 30 percent with the lowest scores. In another study, 49 percent of the people in stress and cancer high-risk group scores above became ill; 25 percent of the medium-risk group — became ill; but only 9 percent of the low-risk group — became ill.

The life-change scale, though, also shows that there is nothing necessarily health-threatening about life changes. In one of the studies, 51 percent of the high-risk group did not get sick. When difficult and threatening events occur, it is how we perceive and respond to them that determines the intensity of the stress.

Our attitude about what we feel we should be and our imagined punishment if we fail determines how we see and react to events. In a classic study of heart-disease patients, Dr. Nanders Dunbar noted the recurring trait of compulsive striving: The study showed clearly how attitude could create a chronic life-threatening situation where no real threat exists. Failure is not death, and it is certainly not worse than death. But as long as we believe that it is, our bodies will respond with the fight-or-flight response; coming events that might be handled with relative ease instead create the constant burden of chronic stress— with the ironic possibility of creating an actual life-threatening illness if the pressure is not removed.

On the positive side, it is equally true that by altering our attitudes and tension-producing habits, we may tip the scales in a more healthful direction. Recent research in areas such as biofeedback and meditation has shown that we can become aware of our stress responses dosing guidelines antabuse can influence them.

The possible role of stress-related factors in the onset and course of cancer is certainly not a new or radical notion. As far back as the second century, the Greek physician Galen noted that melancholy women appeared more synthroid and eyes to develop cancer than cheerful ones. Eighteenth and nineteenth-century physicians frequently noted that severe life disruptions and resulting emotional turmoil, despair, and loss of hope seemed to occur before the onset of cancer.

James Paget emphasized that emotional disturbance was related to cancer: InParker made the mind-body connection in a prophetic way by emphasizing the physical results of emotion: Despite the consistent trend of these observations, the interest in more physical interventions—such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy—drew medical attention away from the emotional contribution. Furthermore, the lack of tools for dealing with stress understandably has led to a reliance on these medical interventions.

Recent exploration of the role of stress and emotions in cancer, led by the work of Lawrence LeShan, has aroused new interest. A quarter-century ago, LeShan studied the lives of more losartan with anesthesia five hundred cancer patients, many of whom he worked with in psychotherapy.

He found a distinct emotional life-history pattern in 76 percent of the cancer patients, but the same pattern stress and cancer in only 10 percent of a control group that did not have cancer. However, it is important to understand that this research identifies emotions as only one possible factor in the development of cancer— not the only one. Research suggests that there is a positive role for the emotions in cancer. If bottling up emotional expression and holding a reservoir of tension inside can create a dangerous load of chronic stress, learning to let go can reduce that burden and its risk.

This perspective has led many physicians and patients to recognize that a comprehensive approach to cancer includes dealing with the emotional and stress-related aspects of the disease. Even physicians who are skeptical of the role of stress in the onset of cancer generally speak of the will to live as an important element of treatment. Adding counseling and stress-reduction techniques to traditional medical care is becoming more common.

First, it is well known, though perhaps not well understood, that if a person has faith in a treatment and believes that it will work, the chances are greatly increased that the treatment stress and cancer work—even if the treatment has no known therapeutic value. In science this is described as the placebo effect, and it is one of the most powerful tools available to the health practitioner.

The more severe the pain, the more effective the placebo is. The placebo effect goes even beyond pain relief and can change the state of the disease. For example, two groups of patients with bleeding ulcers were given the same medication, but one group was told by a physician that the drug would undoubtedly produce relief, while the second group was told by a nurse that the drug was experimental and its effectiveness was unknown. In the first group, 70 percent showed significant improvements; in the second group, only 25 percent improved.

The sole difference was the positive expectation created in the first group, stress and cancer. In another intriguing study, patients were divided into three groups. The first group was the stress and cancer group and received no medication.

The other two groups were told they were going to receive a new drug that would increase health and longevity. One of these groups received a placebo, and the other group received the actual drug. After years of followup, the first group showed a normal amount of illness and mortality; the experience of the second placebo group was significantly better than the first control group, and the third medicated group displayed about the same amount of additional improvement over the placebo group as the placebo group had over rheumatoid arthritis and running control group, stress and cancer.

Thus, while the drug reduced illness and prolonged life, so did the placebo. How the power of belief affects the body remains a mystery. But stress and cancer the mechanism, the fact remains that attitude and belief can stress and cancer a vital role in the success or failure of any treatment. To ignore or neglect stress and cancer power of positive expectations and beliefs is to abandon one of the most valuable tools known to medicine.

Another area that confirms the influence of mind on body is biofeedback—the ability of an individual to have some control over what were previously believed to be involuntary functions. Through the use of sensitive electronic devices, stress and cancer, a person can stress and cancer, for example, his or her own heart rate, brain wave activity, and skin temperature.

Although the study of biofeedback is still in its early stages, it has already proven effective for a broad range of stress-related problems, stress and cancer, including heart disorders, high blood pressure, migraine and tension headaches, asthma, ulcers, and chronic pain.

The range of applications keeps expanding. Epileptics have been able to reduce seizures by using biofeedback instead of medicine to control their brain wave activity.

Recent research into meditation has shown that simple periods of daily deep relaxation may have important and lasting effects on a wide variety of stress disorders, perhaps most notably high blood pressure. Given the research described earlier and these additional findings, the conclusion seems inescapable: Coping with stress is only part of a comprehensive treatment program, but it is the part perhaps most influenced by the patient.

It is often possible, even necessary although undoubtedly difficult to see a major illness as an opportunity rather than a tragedy.

Between blindly giving up and blindly charging on is another option—self-examination and change. The two key elements of change are analyzing and restructuring your lifestyle, and practicing and developing enjoyable techniques for reducing stress. Both of these tasks are easier said than done. The first is no doubt the more difficult and requires real motivation.

The key questions you must ask if you are going to alter your stance toward life, are:. Answering these questions may require the involvement of professionals, family, a number of close friends, and, perhaps, a support group. To establish new priorities and develop realistic ways to reach them takes time, communication, and honest self-analysis. Changing is not easy.


Stress and cancer