Stress, a common factor in modern hectic lives, can have a profound impact on your overall health and well-being. Battling cancer is even more stressful, making it more difficult to manage and cope with the disease. Stress does not directly cause cancer, but long-term stress can weaken your immune system, aggravating the disease and associated symptoms. So, the intricate connection between stress and cancer cannot be overlooked.
Let us discuss how to manage stress to increase your cancer survival rates and overall health and well-being.
Stress arising from daily routines and responsibilities affects one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. When you encounter a stressful situation, your body activates its defense system, known as the "fight-or-flight" response. This response is coordinated by the release of stress hormones, including epinephrine and norepinephrine, which prepare the body for action.
In this state, heart rate and blood pressure increase, breathing becomes shallow and rapid, and muscles tense up, ready to either confront the stressor or escape from it. However, prolonged and excessive stress can lead to various physical and psychological issues such as high blood pressure, digestive problems, difficulty concentrating, sleep issues, anxiety, infections like COVID-19, and depression.
Stress can cause different symptoms depending on its levels and how your body responds to it.
Emotional signs of stress include:
Physical signs of stress include:
Chronic stress may cause cancer to aggravate and spread to other body parts. Norepinephrine hormones that are released as part of your body’s fight-or-flight response stimulate angiogenesis and metastasis. It may also activate neutrophils, a type of immune cell that helps tumors grow, and may also awaken dormant cancer cells.
Long-term stress may release a class of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids that may inhibit a tumor cell death called apoptosis and increase metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy. These hormones also prevent your immune system from identifying and combating cancer cells. Moreover, stress from cancer may decrease survival rates.
Get hold of these strategies to manage stress:
Dealing with cancer can be immensely overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine can provide a sense of peace and clarity, alleviating some of the anxiety and stress associated with the disease.
Here are some relaxation techniques that you can practice:
Medical assistance may be needed if:
Are you or your loved one currently battling cancer and in need of exceptional care and support? Look no further than Chesapeake Oncology Hematology Associates. With a team of highly skilled and compassionate oncology specialists, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality of cancer care. Schedule an appointment with us today to fight off your cancer without stress.