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Stress and Cancer


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Did you know that psyche is involved in cancer process? I am biologist, so have found that this issue is very important.

More and more researches prove that chronic stressful state of mind creates predisposition towards development of cancer by weakening the immune response and other anti-cancer defence systems.

For example, in a study carried out in the University of Manchester in the UK, 1,596 women were psychologically examined before the mammogram. Those who experienced psychotraumatic stress (death of a loved one, loss of significant relationships, physical trauma, health problems with close relatives, and/or marital problems) some time before the examination had a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Researchers from the University of Marburg (Germany), who examined a group of women with a tumor in the mammary gland before the biopsy, came to the same conclusion. Women whose tumor turned out to be malignant had experienced much greater stress due to the loss of a loved one than women with benign tumors. Swedish scientists (University of Goteborg), for twenty-four years observed 1,462 women aged 38 to 60. The analysis showed that those who experienced stress for five years at the beginning of the observation period were twice as likely to develop breast cancer as women without stress. In Israel, 6,284 parents whose children died in 1970–1977 due to war or accident were observed for twenty years. A significant increase in the incidence of cancer of the lymphatic system, blood, respiratory system, and skin (melanoma) was found.

These data urge every cancer patient to see the psycho-oncologist or psychotherapist to work on those psychic traumas and conflicts that can contribute to development of chronic stress. If you want to learn more about these issues, read these books: "Cancer as a Turning Point" by Lawrence LeShan, "Love, Medicine and Miracles" by Dr. Bernie Siegel and  "Carcinogenic Mind. The Psychosomatic Mechanisms of Cancer" by Dr. Vladislav Matrenitsky. They greatly helped me to understand the reasons of my illness and brought to the psychotherapy.

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