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Is it true that prolonged stress can cause cancer?

Most people think stress is normal. In fact, if you constantly experience it, then the risk of developing various kinds of chronic diseases can arise. So, is it true that stress can trigger cancer? Check out the explanation below.

Is it true that prolonged stress can cause cancer?

Facts Stress can Increase the Risk of Cancer

A study was conducted Dalian Medical University which involving experimental mice resulted in the fact that stress in the long term tends to increase the risk of cell development cancer.

Research published in This Journal of Clinical Investigation states that stress is related to the presence of the hormone epinephrine. The increase in this hormone is associated with cancer malignancy.

The researchers used mice to determine the link between chronic stress and the risk of developing stem cells that cause breast cancer. Please note, even though all tumor cells have been killed, if the cancer stem cells are not killed then this tumor will continue to grow.

Studies using rats as an experiment conditioned to experience stress. As a result, rats tend to experience depression and excessive anxiety. These mice also had cancerous tumors that were larger in size compared to the mice from the non-stress group.

The results of these studies reveal, ttumors in rats experiencing stress grow very quickly. Even so, researchers still cannot find a definite relationship to how stress can make cancer development faster.

Also Read: 10 Drinks That Can Help Relieve Stress

Meanwhile according National Cancer Institutestress can indeed cause a number of physical health problems. However, this research does not apply to humans.

This is because confirming the relationship between stress and cancer in humans requires research using human body cells as the object of research.

Even so, the clear link between stress and cancer can emerge in a number of ways. For example, people who experience stress increase the risk of smoking, consumption of unhealthy foods or alcoholic beverages, a condition that can increase the risk of developing cancer.

Based on the discussion above, it can be concluded that stress may not be the main cause that can trigger cancer. However, it is the lifestyle due to stress that is very likely to interfere with the performance of the body’s systems.

Also Read: The Importance of Stress Management for Mental and Physical Health

Tips to Prevent Cancer

Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases whose initial symptoms are often not noticed by sufferers. Generally, sufferers only become aware of their health condition when the stage of the cancer is classified as severe.

Therefore, you should take preventive measures to avoid it. Here are some preventive steps that you can try to follow, including:

1. Quit Smoking

Smoking is a bad habit that can increase the risk of lung, mouth and bladder cancer. Therefore, try to stop this habit to prevent the occurrence of several types of cancer.

2. Do not consume alcohol

Apart from smoking, consumption of alcoholic beverages is often underestimated by some people. In fact, these habits can lower the immune system, making you susceptible to disease, including cancer.

It’s a good idea to start stopping consumption and switch to more healthful drinks such as fruit juice or mineral water.

Also Read: 9 Effective Ways to Overcome Stress After Quitting Smoking

3. Protects the skin from sun exposure

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun can trigger skin cancer. Besides using clothes that cover the skin, don’t forget to apply it sunscreen or sun block all over your body if you spend a lot of time outdoors.

4. Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods

One of the risk factors that can trigger the growth of cancer cells is the food you eat. To prevent this, you should reduce consumption of fatty foods, high in sugar and salt, and replace them with fruit and vegetable intake.

Not only able to prevent cancer, nutrients (vitamins and minerals) found in fruits and vegetables have many other benefits for the health of the body.

5. Exercising Routine

Regular exercise is beneficial for increasing body power, burning fat, increasing body metabolism, reducing stress and reducing the risk of dangerous diseases including cancer.

In the end, you have to manage stress properly so it doesn’t drag on. If deemed necessary, consult your physical and mental health condition with your doctor to get more appropriate treatment.

  1. Anonymous. 2021. Can Stress Cause Cancer? (Accessed March 1, 2023)
  2. Larocci Tom. 2022. The Links Between Stress and Cancer. (Accessed March 1, 2023)
  3. Kelley W Keith, et al. 2019. Stress-Induced Epinephrine Enhances Lactate Dehydrogenase A and Promotes Breast Cancer Stem-like Cells. (Accessed March 1, 2023)

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