Study shows high stress increases the risk of cancer
(NaturalHealth365) It’s no secret that stress has many detrimental effects on the body. High stress levels can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, inflammation, gastric upset, and more. But what about stress and cancer?
Can chronic stress actually cause cancer? One study published in Scientific Reports suggests that stress increases cancer risk.
Can stress actually cause cancer?
The study, performed in Japan, evaluated the association between perceived stress and the risk of developing cancer. Alarmingly, researchers found that those with a constant high perceived stress level had an 11% greater cancer risk. This correlation was found in men who had no family history of cancer. However, the risk was more substantial among men with other health risk factors, like smoking and obesity. Other studies have also suggested an association between chronic stress levels and cancer risks.
Some reveal a connection between work stress and lung, esophageal, and colorectal cancer. Another recent study saw a link between PTSD or social isolation and ovarian cancer. So can you get cancer from stress, or do other factors come into play? Although there seem to be strong links between stress and cancer, the answer is debatable.
Some studies have found no increase in cancer risk related to work stress. On top of that, it’s hard to study the direct relationship between stress and cancer because the experience of stress is so subjective. Many researchers believe it’s not stress that causes cancer – it’s what it does to your body.
How does stress affect your body?
Your body’s response to acute stress is a natural evolutionary survival mechanism. When you’re under stress or your mind perceives danger, two things happen: your fight-or-flight response turns on, and the stress hormone cortisol is released.
When your body dwells in a high-stress state, continuous stress hormones can cause harmful changes in your body. Consequently, chronic stress can alter your metabolism, weaken your immune system, and even damage your DNA.
Furthermore, chronic stress often leads to unhealthy behaviors like smoking, overconsuming alcohol, and eating unhealthy foods.
So while it’s difficult to prove that stress can cause cancer, the harmful effects of chronic stress are undeniable. And because of how it affects your body, high stress can result in higher cancer risk.
How to minimize your cancer risk
You can’t know whether you will ever get cancer or any other disease. Additionally, many toxins and chemicals in the environment can increase cancer risk. However, you can take steps to keep your body healthy and minimize your risk factors.
Avoiding tobacco can reduce cancer risk since tobacco smoking is strongly linked to many types of cancer. Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is essential, as well as avoiding toxic processed meats and other unhealthy foods. To help bring yourself into a more parasympathetic (relaxed) state, chew your food, really well. The habit of chewing your food well will calm down your nervous system, improve digestion and immune function.
Getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy weight will help to reduce your overall cancer risk. Spend a healthy amount of time in the sun and “get grounded” by putting your feet onto the ground outside. Spend more time in nature for all its obvious health benefits.
Don’t let high stress levels destroy your life: Taking care of your body, mind and soul will help you to minimize the risk of dangerous long-term health problems, including cancer and heart disease.
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