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Author Topic: Can stress cause cancer?  (Read 6951 times)

Offline dentstudent

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Can stress cause cancer?
« on: 08/05/2009 09:09:26 »
I was having a conversation with my wife yesterday about the husband of a friend who suffers from stress. Whenever something goes awry, this chap gets highly stressed and wired. As a result he gets psoriasis for which he takes medication. His wife believes that if the stress didn't manifest as psoriasis, it would show in a different way, for example cancer. It's at this point that my sceptical warning bells rang. I didn't think that stress was a cause of cancer. Cancers, as far as I know, are caused by a mutation of a cell's DNA which results in abnormal growth responses, and are not caused by psychological impairments. I'm prepared to believe that one is able to better respond to treatment of cancer if one is less stressed (though how significant it is, I don't know), but not that stress can manifest itself as cancer.

Is my scepticism unfounded? If you suffer from stress, are you more likely to induce cancer?


 

Offline Karen W.

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Can stress cause cancer?
« Reply #1 on: 08/05/2009 09:54:25 »
I have heard this before also as a suggesion and I also have a medical condition which can be brought on by stress, so in my opinion why not suspect that it could certainly, if nothing else..weaken your system inabling you to fight off things and otherwise leave you open as an easy target so to speak... immune wise also..
 

Offline iko

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Can stress cause cancer?
« Reply #2 on: 09/05/2009 13:46:24 »
The cancer-stress connection has been previously (3/2008) discussed here:

« Last Edit: 09/05/2009 13:54:10 by iko »
 

Offline RD

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Can stress cause cancer?
« Reply #3 on: 14/05/2009 07:49:52 »
I was having a conversation with my wife yesterday about the husband of a friend who suffers from stress.
Whenever something goes awry, this chap gets highly stressed and wired.
As a result he gets psoriasis for which he takes medication.

More likely psoriasis causes him to become distressed, than stress causing a flare of psoriasis.
This "stress induced*" is also said of asthma, but again the causal relationship is more likely to be the other way around.

I think having an itchy rash, or having difficulty breathing for many days would cause most people to be more irritable/emotional.


[* stress was also (incorrectly) said to be the cause of most stomach ulcers, before the discovery of H-pylori. ]
 

Offline khurrum

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Can stress cause cancer?
« Reply #4 on: 14/05/2009 15:38:34 »
i thnk so not at all becuse cancer is the uncontrolled cell division of the cell that could b caused by the mutation in cell r due to any othr reason... The stress may link to cancer as if the person z alredy the patient of the cancer then stressful situation may effect him more then the normal condition but if the person is normal ( with out the disease ) then thre z no link of strss with the cancer [O8)]
 

Offline peach3000

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Can stress cause cancer?
« Reply #5 on: 22/05/2009 15:49:11 »
This is so true! Stress can cause so many illnesses: newbielink:http://stress-help-guide.com/stress-related-illnesses/ [nonactive]
 

Offline iko

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Can stress cause cancer?
« Reply #6 on: 28/05/2009 23:16:05 »
An elderly person I know has been under a lot of stress for a few months. She is living in an environment she doesn't want to be in and is unhappy about it. Plus there are other things putting stress on her.

Yesterday she was taken into hospital and the doctors suspect a tumour or cancer. They don't hold out much hope of her lasting past the weekend.

Although she has been frail for quite some time and suffers from dementia, she was pretty happy with things until everything changed just before Christmas when she went to live somewhere else. Since then she has gone downhill and now this.

I know stress can cause lots of illnesses (or, at least, cause latent illnesses to manifest), but can it cause cancer?




Hi Dr. Beaver,

in my limited personal opinion, the answer could be:

Yes, in certain circumstances, stress itself may contribute to cause cancer.
As anybody can imagine, this is almost impossible to demonstrate scientifically.
We are left with our personal memories of patients and sad human case histories in which a cancer diagnosis had been only the last awful thing in a terribly hopeless lifetime.

As you probably already know, I am fascinated by the infection-cancer connections, so I'd like to post here an old experiment concerning the stress-infection connection instead.
Unfortunately I cannot find anymore that scientific report or even the reference, but it should somewhere in the wwweb!
I'll try to squeeze my memory in spite of a galloping senile dementia (bad type: vitamin D and cod liver oil resistant!).
It was called: "Learned Helplessness Experiment"

A model of environmental stress was set up for guinea pigs (or rats?) in special cages:

1) Control cases were living peacefully in 2 communicating cages.

2) 'Stressed' cases had learned to escape to the communicating cage when a light had been switched on, because an electric shock would have been delivered in the first cage-floor in seconds after the light.

3) 'Stressed without hope' cases had no chance of running away to the communicating cage when a light had been switched on, because they would have suffered a bad electric shock anyway, even in the second cage.

Immune profiles were studied by special tests available in those days:

Stressed animals had some immune impairment, compared to normal controls, still compatible with a sufficient immune response to infectious stimuli.

'Stressed without hope' animals showed an immune defence totally knocked down: no 'killer cells', no antibody production, no phagocytosis.
A picture of paralysis of the immune system incompatible with individual survival.


ikoD
« Last Edit: 28/05/2009 23:21:32 by iko »
 

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Can stress cause cancer?
« Reply #6 on: 28/05/2009 23:16:05 »

 

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