According to research in animal models and human cancer cells cultured in lab settings, chronic stress may contribute to the progression and spread of cancer. For instance, several studies have demonstrated that mice with human tumors were more likely to develop and apply when restricted or isolated from other mice, increasing stress.
Norepinephrine, which the body releases as part of the fight-or-flight response, has been shown in laboratory tests to induce angiogenesis and metastasis. Another kind of immune cell, neutrophils, may be triggered by this hormone. By protecting tumors from the immune system, neutrophils can sometimes promote tumor growth. They can also “awaken” latent cancer cells.
Chronic stress may also lead to releasing a class of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids may inhibit tumor cell death called apoptosis and increase metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy. Additionally, they could stop the immune system from identifying and eliminating cancer cells.
Although several studies have found that cancer patients who experience stress have worse survival rates, there is still no proof that stress directly impacts survival.
Patients who get emotional and social support may find it easier to manage stress. Such assistance helps lessen patients’ sadness, anxiety, ailments, and treatments. Tips for managing the many emotions that might occur with cancer can be found on the NCI’s website on emotions and cancer.
There is some proof that patients with breast cancer who manage their stress well and receive social support have better clinical outcomes. Lower levels of stress-related chemicals that can accelerate tumor growth in ovarian cancer have also been linked to social support.
People under a lot of stress due to their cancer diagnosis may wish to ask their doctors for a recommendation from a qualified mental health specialist. Some professional organizations advise screening all cancer patients with an appropriate instrument, such as a distress scale or questionnaire, soon after diagnosis as well as throughout and after treatment to determine whether they require assistance with stress management or are at risk for distress.
Under the supervision of a mental health professional, psychotherapy (talk therapy) plus antidepressants or other medications may be used to treat severe distress, depression, and anxiety. The selection of the course of treatment should be tailored, ideally as a collaborative option between the patient and the healthcare professional.
New psychotherapy strategies are being researched to help cancer patients with depression symptoms, including anguish and despair. Three to six sessions of a customized psychotherapy intervention were given to participants in a randomized clinical study who had just received an advanced cancer diagnosis. The results showed a reduction in depressive symptoms. The trial’s findings also imply that the strategy could aid in keeping people with progressive illness from developing depression.
Another randomized clinical study evaluated the effectiveness of two therapies for decreasing psychological distress in cancer patients that were provided either in person or electronically and two mindfulness-based cognitive therapy strategies. Both treatments improved mental health-related quality of life, mindfulness techniques, and positive mental health while reducing pain, such as fear of cancer recurrence.
We all know how much heartache news it would be for anyone to know they have been diagnosed with cancer growing in their body. But what one can do at that moment that is most important is take good care of their psychological and physical health. For that, we have found a place for our readers where we can take help regarding help cancer patients.
AMASS Association Friends of Cancer Patients is a Saudi Arabian volunteer-based, non-profit, charitable organization that aims to provide psychological and moral support to cancer patients and their families and to educate and spread health awareness to the community about the disease and the importance of early detection. It consists of a team of recovered cancer patients, specialists, doctors in all related areas, and volunteers to be friends with cancer patients. It provides psychological support and educational awareness to cancer patients by cancer-recovered volunteers through their experience.
The vision of this organization is to build an entrepreneurial society capable of providing psychological, moral, and social support to cancer patients and educating them and their families through the activities and programs of the association.