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The Stress/Cancer Connection
Certainly one of the first things that someone wants to know when they are diagnosed with cancer is why them; why have they been the unlucky “chosen” one to receive such a terrifying diagnosis? The more we learn about cancer the more we understand that while there are definitely many things that factor into someone’s cancer risk, including smoking, genetics, and exposure to carcinogens, in many other cases there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for a cancer diagnosis. Research continues into the known - and little known - connections to the development of cancer of all kinds and as we begin to better understand how the emotional state of the body impacts the physical state of the body we come to better learn the stress/cancer connection.
What is stress?
Stress is an emotion that people feel when they are faced with daily pressures or a traumatic event. Stress is a part of life and certainly something that we all face at one time or another. But the body is not meant to sustain long periods of stress; we are not built to live in the “fight or flight” zone on a continuous basis. When we experience stress, our body responds by releasing stress hormones to help us deal with the “threat” at hand. These hormones speed our heart rate, raise our blood pressure, and elevate blood sugar. When we remain in this state for too long, we begin to experience a variety of stress-related conditions including gastrointestinal illness, chronic headaches, infections, sleep disorders, and even depression.
Can stress cause cancer?
While there is no defining body of research that has shown a direct connection between stress and cancer, there’s no denying the physical breakdown that begins to happen when the body is dealing with extended periods of stress. As a physical breakdown occurs, the immune system is compromised, and the risk of illnesses of all kinds increases.
Additionally, those who are under stress may pick up certain habits to help them deal with that stress - smoking, drinking, drug use, etc. - all behaviors which increase the risk of developing cancer.
There is no denying that stress is something that must be managed appropriately to keep the body healthy and functioning at peak performance.
About the author:
The Las Colinas Cancer Center is located on the service road of HWY 161 and Las Colinas Boulevard near the Regions Bank. We are located just across the Highway from the Las Colinas Medical Center. We designed the Las Colinas Cancer Center with our patients in mind. Our experienced and trained medical staffs is attentive to detail and our center offers the most advanced cancer fighting technology available in North Texas including on-site PET & CT Scanning. The physicians on staff at our Las Colinas location are Dr. Gregory Echt, Dr. Neeraja Dasari, Dr. James Mackey, and Dr. Kiran Kancharla. Visit lascolinascancercenter.com to know more.
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