Stress Management aids cancer survival

Stress Management aids cancer survival

There are at least 3 ways (via histamine, the microbiome and Cox-2) that stress has been proven to cause cancer and increase metastases; and stress management techniques are an essential part of an Integrative cancer treatment programme and proven to increase cancer survival times.

People with cancer who actively manage their stress live significantly longer

Stress is one of those subjects that means something different to different people. But at UCLA, where the Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research has spent over 15 years researching subjects such as stress and cancer, are clear - Stress Management is an essential part of cancer treatment. In fact they have said that 'people with cancer who actively manage their stress survive significantly longer'. We will talk more about this later.

So what is stress? The stress of getting the kids to school in rush hour; the stress of running a home; the stress of watching your football team lose? Is that really stress? 

How about the stress of losing a child, or the stress of losing your mother who was your best friend in the world? Or the stress of losing a partner, or your business going bust? Or the stress of an abusive relationship, or an abusive boss? Or of financial problems and the loss of your home? We could go on. 

Ridiculously, The World Health Organisation made no mention of stress and emotional state in their report on the causes of cancer. Leading charities like Cancer Research UK are insistent that there are no links between stress and cancer and have been known to produce research about factory workers to back up their claims. In fact, on their current Website they say: 

"... evidence tells us that stress itself doesn’t cause cancer. But stressful situations can sometimes lead us to develop unhealthy habits, such as smoking, overeating or heavy drinking."

So it's your fault again. And they are busy developing expensive drugs to sort you out! You smoke and drink too much.

Of course, they are quite wrong. They don't know their cancer biochemistry.

Your mind can make you ill; your mind can heal you

We know your mind can make you ill; and we know your mind can heal you. It is a world beyond drugs. Other forces are at work; forces beyond the profits of Big Pharma.

We know for a fact that when you get stressed, levels of histamines increase in the body. Usually these histamines help you - they strengthen the immune response in the body. They are also part of the 'Fight or Flight' mechanism. After your shot of histamine, the body has a gene regulatory system to restore normality in you. But, in periods of extreme and prolonged stress, the histamines just carry on building in the body. And this causes Chronic Inflammation. And chronic inflammation encourages cancer in several ways.

Cancer cells have more histamine receptors than normal cells and so they more easily become inflamed. Experts have likened this to having little 'velcro patches' on the surface of the cancer cells. This helps them stick to the blood and lymph walls; it ultimately helps cancer cells to stick together and form new tumours. And it helps them stick to peripheral tissues around the body. No surprise then that in people with cancer, histamine levels are highest in the peripheral tissues. They are sucking the cancer cells in!

If you are up for a scientific review, you could find all about histamine receptors known to proliferate breast cancer, melanoma and colrectal cancer here.

Researchers from Basel Medical School have shown that an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol is linked to an increase in glucocorticoid levels in distant organs and these not only attract cancer cells, but even influence their modification and mutation, causing slightly different variants of the original cancer! Their research was with breast cancer too.

There is also research from the Karolinska showing that antihistamines can help reduce proliferation of cancer cells, metastases and increase survival times -

Go to: Antihistamines like cimetidine, desloratadine and loratadine increase survival in colorectal and breast cancer

But, consider this: The New York Presbyterian Hospital took 40 people all due for surgery. Half had 20 minutes of meditation, the other half did not. All then had anaesthetic - there was no possible placebo effect. The group that had meditation first, lost 40 per cent less blood in the following operation. It's due to the power of opioids produced in the brain while meditating. They shut things down in the body and they are very calming and healing.

At CANCERactive,we help people with cancer all the time. What we notice is that stress might not cause cancer, (that can be ten years of poor diet and no exercise), but it can certainly tip you over the edge. And dealing with histamines and stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline is really important in the fight against cancer.

Stress Hormones cause cancer

n 2010 Tian Xu, Professor of Genetics at Yale and also at Fudan University, China showed that this stress pathway activated two genes in the nucleus of cells and that these genes cause cancer. He went on to say that hitherto, while many people thought stress caused cancer, no one had previously proved it. "A lot of different conditions can trigger stress signalling: physical stress, emotional stress, infections, inflammation - all these things. And thats bad news for developing cancer". He showed stress was linked to cancer cause, and now repeated studies have shown stress can cause epigenetic changes around the DNA leading to blocked messages and cancer.

Go to: Aspirin, inflammation and cancer

But there are two other ways fundamental emotional stress can cause cancer. Be clear, we are talking about the women with breast cancer who lost her mum two years before, whose son has lost his job, whose daughter is getting divorced, who has financial problems, or who has an abusive relationship. And the research backs us up. Stress causes at least two more major physical occurrences in the body. And both are linked to cancer. 

  • Stress changes your microbiome make-up for the worse. When something bstressful happens you can feel the grief in the pit of your stomach. Why? Well, stress changed the pH of your intestine and your good gut bacteria didn't like the change. They don't grow and divide as fast under the new conditions, and so, there are less of them.  Sadly then, they don't produce the volume of helpful compounds you need like folic acid and B-12, essential to accurate DNA replication, and melatonin to help you sleep or serotonin to help your mood. They produce less glutathione which normally helps the oxygenation of your cells. Also, the more good bacteria you have the more anti-inflammatory compounds you make. The upheaval goes on, war breaks out with pathogens in the ascendancy. And they make inflammatory compounds and even toxins.  Your immune system (produced in response to levels of the good bacteria) also weakens. You are becoming more inflamed, more poisoned. 

    Go To: HEAL UR GUT

  • Stress stimulates Cox-2. Since 1982, when John Vane won a Nobel prize and a knighthood for discovering localised hormones called eicosanoids, we have known that an enzyme (COX-2) is activated all over your body by the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline (epinephine). (Insulin also activates COX-2 and make matters worse). These localised hormones cause also increase chronic inflammation throughout the body, the precursor to chronic illness including cancer. This inflammation also encourages metastases, and it has been shown that once you develop cancer your cortisol and epinephrine levels rise, because cancer attacks the adrenals, causing even more inflammation. Cancer loves inflammation, it's how it sreads.

Oncologists measure C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. They increase when inflammation increases in your body.

UCLA produced research in 2012 that showed Patients who undertook Stress Management Courses survived Significantly longer

Stress hormones promote metastases

UCLA have studied the issue of stress and cancer for over a 15 years. They have produced two major reports.

1. Counselling was the focus of the first UCLA report. People with cancer who undertook regular counselling survived significantly longer than those who did not. We have articles on meditation, EFT and a variety of stress reducing techniques on this website.

The second UCLA report was a more practical report. 

2. Four factors that can reduce stress hormone levels and thus inflammation in the body:

   i). Eating a colourful Mediterranean Diet (A Rainbow Diet) can reduce stress hormone levels.

Go To: The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer

Science has shown that (COX-2) can be inhibited by resveratrol, curcumin, omega-3, garlic, ginger and salicylic acid (aspirin) amongst other natural compounds. Pectins (carrots and apples) and ellagatannin (berries) increase good gut bacteria; as do inulins in garlic, onions, chicory.  Any of these compounds will reduce localised stress chemicals around your breast or prostate cells and will change their internal biochemistry. People who eat the highest levels of soluble fibre (pulses, vegetables and nuts and seeds) increase their good gut bacteria and have the strongest immune systems.

   ii). Fish oils increase good bacteria that make very anti-inflammatory molecules and fish oils have also been shown to protect your telomeres. As we age the telomeres shorten. In cancer, they shorten rapidly. What are telomeres? Think of the plastic ends of shoe laces that hold the laces together. Telomeres hold your DNA together. Fish oils have been shown to re-elongate the telomeres in cancer patients. Fish oils also help to prevent cachexia in patients having chemotherapy. (In fact, fish oils and extra virgin olive oil work synegistically to reduce inflammation by producing anti-inflammatory molecules.)

   iii). Yoga - While there is clear research that exercise produces endorphins (so-called happy hormones) which reduce cortisol levels, there is specific research on Yoga, both with healthy people, and on those with cancer. Whilst going home and taking it easy for a week will reduce your cortisol by 5%, your first ever yoga class will reduce cortisol by 25%. Have a second in the same week and the cortisol levels in your body will fall 40%. 

   iv). Meditation. According to UCLA, meditation trumps the lot - although they were talking about having two sessions of Transcendental Meditation a day!!

Did you also know that there is research on how laughter improves the immune system - go and buy some comedy shows on DVD, or turn to You Tube. 

Do you still believe that stress doesn't cause cancer, and/or you can do nothing about it??

Treating Mind, Body and Soul and Integrative Cancer Treatment 

37 per cent of American Hospitals list 'Treating mind, body and soul' in their Mission Statements. There are now medical degrees at UCLA in Holistic medicine. The National Cancer Institute in America lists 36 pages of energy therapies.

In the UK you have little old CANCERactive.

So please read our section on Stress, Mental and Emotional Health with an open mind. We are just starting a big push to get more articles here. You should also read sections of our complementary therapies too. Even the article on having a God, shown to significantly increase survival times. The whole subject is poorly researched at the moment - but then sometimes you just have to believe!

Stress Management aids cancer survival
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