Stress

Stress 2015-08-17T17:34:08+00:00

Stress can affect tumor growth and spread, but the precise biological mechanisms underlying these effects are not yet fully understood. It is possible that the effects of stress on the immune system may in turn affect the growth of some tumors (Citation: Andersen BL, Farrar WB, Golden-Kreutz D, et al. Stress and immune responses after surgical treatment for regional breast cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1998; 90(1):30-36).

Research using animal models indicates that release of stress hormones can affect cancer cell functions directly. (Citation: Thaker PH, Han LY, Kamat AA, et al. Chronic stress promotes tumor growth and angiogenesis in a mouse model of ovarian carcinoma. Nature Medicine 2006; 12(8):939-944).

Studies suggest an association of certain psychological factors with the growth or spread of cancer, such as feeling helpless or, conversely, suppressing negative emotions. (Citation: Garssen B. Psychological factors and cancer development: Evidence after 30 years of research. Clinical Psychology Review 2004; 24(3):315­338).

In general, stronger relationships have been found between psychological factors and cancer growth and spread than between psychological factors and initial development of cancer (Citation: Thaker PH, Han LY, Kamat AA, et al. Chronic stress promotes tumor growth and angiogenesis in a mouse model of ovarian carcinoma. Nature Medicine 2006; 12(8):939-944).

Ask yourself if it is possible to view your advanced stage prostate cancer as part of the human aging process. Not terribly desirable, but now perfectly normal for you—and now, part of your story.

Cancer is not your punishment. Cancer is a medical reality, albeit a very serious one. You can still control much of your destiny by empowering yourself to take control your medical care by choosing the most appropriate physicians and taking an active part in deciding on treatments. Also, continue to live your life to the fullest extent possible, whatever that may mean to you.

Seek and find others who share your diagnosis by joining support groups (face to face and on-line groups) and openly share your situation and your feelings. Trust your brothers, many of them have already walked the path ahead of you.