Stress and Cancer: Whats the Connection?

By Boro Petric

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again, Stress Kills! And with new research indicating a strong tie between stress and cancer, it seems that this message has never been more important.

We live in a culture these days that is proud to be stressed out. People talk about all the problems and stress in their lives as if they were noble achievements. We need to shift from that mindset immediately. Reducing stress isnt simply a call to be a more mellow, feel-good person; its actually a call to arms to fight against cancer and other potentially deadly illnesses.

What Happens When You Stress Out?

Weve all been stressed out before, so lets talk about some of the events that transpire. Typically a stress episode will start with a situation that causes you to feel afraid, isolated or frustrated.

Before long that single stimuli turns into full blown stress, you begin to focus only on the problem at hand, and soon begin to worry about where this situation will lead. Before you know it, you are neck deep in stress and your body begins to react. And its how your body reacts that explains how closely stress and cancer are interwoven together.

You see, we still retain our ancestral fight or flight instinct. This is the handiwork of our adrenal systems. Back in the old days, when a threat lingered, there were only two things you could do (well three if you consider freezing up and dying as an alternative) you could fight or run away; fight or flight. And your adrenal glands supplied the energy boosting hormone adrenaline to assist in either endeavor. Think of adrenaline as a high octane fuel boost that helps to power up your body for survival.

So how does all this tie stress and cancer together? Its pretty simple, actually.

These days we dont fight or run away when problems or threats arise unless they are of the immediately life threatening variety. So when the boss decides to give you extra work, or the kids wont stop crying or you begin to worry about your marriage, you simply stress out! And stressing out was not an option that the adrenal glands were designed to handle. These glands instead produce excessive amounts of hormones. And the more you stress out, the more these hormones are dumped into your bloodstream with no physical outlet to burn them off.

With the adrenaline activated in your system by stress, a strange thing happens. The body actually produces an increase in P-glycoprotein. And just what does P-glycoprotein do? Well, it helps cancer cells to fight off anything in your system that might do them harm. So any medications given to combat cancer become essentially non-effective.

Hopefully you can now see that the stress and cancer connection is very real indeed. So if youve been putting off finding a way to minimize stress in your life, theres never been a better time than now. After all, your life may depend on it

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