Stress and Cancer.


girl-worried-1215261_1280Let’s  see an article[1] on the relationship of stress and cancer and discoveries about the same in recent decades. In ancient Greece, Galen related the melancholy personality as more likely in women with the chance of getting breast cancer. During the last decades different clinical and epidemiological studies have attempted to link psychological factors such as stress, chronic depression and social isolation with the incidence and progression of cancer. Although the mechanism connecting these facts can not be fully known, recent discoveries seem to identify connections between subjects of study of the neuroendocrine and the appearance of cancer.

Stress effects are performed by the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis through a peptide hormones  like epinefrinine, cortisol, etc. It has been found in human and animal models that the state of stress is able to decrease the immune response. In fact, some medicines used to reduce action such as Corticosteroids are  stress hormones. These hormones may affect several mechanisms related to disease progression in different ways.

In this article, they analyze how stress affects several mechanisms necessary for the development of cancer:

-Proliferation And growth of primary tumor  and metastasis: some studies show relationship between stress hormones and cancer cell growth depending on the type of cancer.

-Migration And invasion: it is known that stress hormones can stimulate mobility and invasiveness of cancer cells.

-Angiogénesis: Solid tumor masses need veins to provide them food and cancer is able to stimulate the creation of new blood vessels for this, this mechanism is called angiogenesis. Some substances such as norepinephrine have some activity on vascular endothelial growth factor and others, so the action of these substances can also promote angiogenesis.

-Cell survival: some stress hormones could also improve survival of some types of cancer, and influence the mechanism of aptosis.

All data induce us to think that behavioral therapies, such as among others, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, tai chi, etc., can influence the evolution of the disease and should be included in combination with traditional treatments and perform studies of the effectiveness thereof, as discussed in the conclusions:
” Although great strides have occurred in understanding the influence of behavioral factors on cancer initiation and metastasis, further research is required to fully understand the complexity of the mechanisms along with interplay with immune system and to develop meaningful clinical trials. As cancer treatment evolves to have patient-specific therapeutic approaches, the inclusion of pharmacologic and behavioral interventions can be used in combination with conventional therapies to hopefully produce superior outcomes, but further research is warranted.”

You can read this article in spanish:

[1] The Neuroendocrine Impact of Chronic Stress on Cancer. Premal H. Thaker1 and Anil K. Sood2,3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *