We’ve known for decades that stress negatively affects the body, but what we didn’t know until recently is that it may actually speed up the spread of cancer. This new theory is the result of a recent study from an Australian research firm.
Australian Research Connects Stress and Spread of Cancer
The research from Monash University was led by cancer biologist Dr. Erica Sloan and looked at how stress drives metastasis – or the spread of cancer from the originating tumor – in field mice with breast cancer. Dr. Sloan and her team were somewhat surprised by what they found.
“Stress sends a signal into the cancer that allows tumor cells to escape from the cancer and spread through the body,” Dr. Sloan explains. “The stress is sort of acting like a fertilizer and helping the tumor cell take hold and colonize those other organs.”
For years, research has shown that cancer spreads through the lymphatic system; however, the idea that stress increases the speed of transmission is a totally unique discovery.
The positive news is that it appears a particular class of medication – long used in patients with high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia – prevents stress and limits the spread of cancer. There are currently human pilot trials underway to study the results.
Tips for Relaxing and Eliminating Stress
What this research does is reiterate the importance of mitigating stress in both healthy individuals and those with cancer. While reducing stress is much easier said than done, here are some tips commonly suggested by healthcare professionals.
Do Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises may seem silly in the moment, but they really do help alleviate stress on the spot. They force you to focus on something you can control and have been shown to reverse the body’s natural response to stress.
There are a wide variety of breathing exercises, but the key is to identify two or three that work for you. Practice them on a regular basis and quickly put them into action at the first signs of stress.
Enjoy the Outdoors
If you spend too much time cooped up inside, it’s possible that you feel constricted without even realizing it. By going outdoors and spending time in nature, you can defeat these stress signals and find a better perspective on life. One option is fishing.
“By simply focusing on the peaceful waters and the joy of fishing, you can forget about what is troubling you and escape the woes of everyday life,” Sportsman’s Finest assures. “Many people say the act of casting and retrieving is a Zen-like experience that is calming and relaxing.”
Another popular option involves hiking or cycling. In reality, anything that forces you to get more active and take your mind off things that are worrying you is a good solution.
Spend Time With People You Enjoy
Finally, one of the best ways to stop stress in its tracks is by spending time with the people you enjoy. It doesn’t even matter what you’re doing. Simply being in the same room with a loved one shows you that you aren’t alone.
“Ideal friendships provide support when you’re down, fun when you’re up, wisdom when you’re lost, and positive regard,” says Elizabeth Scott, MS. “Good friends can inspire you to reach greater heights, and see your strengths even when you don’t always.”
Don’t Let Stress Ruin Your Life
Studies clearly show that stress is dangerous. Not only does it influence us mentally, but as new research continues to prove, it can also have a very real physical impact. Make sure you’re defeating stress at the root and identifying ways to live a happier life.