Stress Can Encourage the Growth of Breast Cancer

New research has confirmed that chronic stress can in some cases stimulate breast cancer progression. Researchers at UCLA's cancer center have shown in animals that, over time, stress significantly accelerates the spread of the disease.  

Note that I said chronic stress, not merely a single bad day or episode of unpleasantness.  

The scientists discovered that chronic stress actually biologically reprograms our usually friendly immune cells so that, instead of attacking the enemy cells, they start helping them survive and thrive.

This animal research study, performed at UCLA and published in the September 2010 Cancer Research Journal, revealed that highly stressed mice had 30 times (!) more cancer cells in their bodies than did the mice who were not exposed to the stressful environment. Now, that's a significant difference.

So, even if we might not be able to fix or put right all the things that are giving us grief right now, just knowing about these study results will perhaps motivate us to start learning some new, emotionally healthier ways to react to stressors, such as (just off the top of my head) yoga classes, deep breathing and relaxation exercises, psychotherapy, and stress-management seminars. Who knows? Learning some emotionally healthier ways of dealing with life's aggravations might be easier than we think.

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