Pat Killingsworth Pat Killingsworth

Fact or fiction: Stress causes cancer

Can stress cause cancer?   Does chronic stress allow cancer to regain a foothold in patients who have already achieved remission?  And/or does it reduce the effectiveness of anti-cancer therapies?  Conversely, does living a relatively stress-free life help cancer patients live longer?

And you expect me to answer these questions in a simple blog post?  Not going to happen!

Don’t be disappointed–and please don’t get “stressed-out!”  I have been feverishly researching medical literature, trying to find proof of causal links between stress and cancer.

I found very little proof.

How about a link between chronic stress and cancer?  More solid evidence for that.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  This is how I ended my thoughts yesterday:

Inspired by Danny’s visit, I think I need to concentrate on “Taking some quiet time each day to check-in with yourself and ask what is important today.”  I’m already incorporating much of Danny’s nutritional advice into my day to day life.

Stress and anxiety;  I could use some serious help on that front!

The morning after our meeting, Danny spent some time with me, focusing on ways to help reduce stress through thoughtful meditation.  More about the negative affects stress and anxiety can have on myeloma patients and caregivers–both emotionally and physically–tomorrow.

Until then, take a deep breath, slowly exhale and repeat after me:

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

That’s what started my latest, already frustrating quest.  Because like a lot of assumptions made by patients, caregivers, proponents of alternative medicine and even a lot of M.D.’s, there is little proof that stress either causes cancer, or makes it worse.

Like my other seemingly endless quest to find proof that a positive attitude helps cancer patients live longer, my research on this topic will need to be ongoing.

Sure, there are some tantalizingly close calls.  I’m not even going to start listing them here.  I’m counting on my readers to do that for me!

But like the positive attitude thing, close doesn’t count.  And thus far, I haven’t been able to find any real proof on this new front, either.

But the assumptions are everywhere.  “He’s a fighter.  I’m sure you can beat this thing!”  or “Sugar feeds cancer but stress will kill you!”

Well actually, sugar and stress can kill you.  Lots of cardiac related evidence that untreated obesity and high blood pressure can kill you!  But causal cancer links?  Not so clear.

I’m going to treat my new quest as another ongoing project.  No rush!  No stress to complete my new, anecdotal research project–because I plan to be around to research this for a long, long time!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat