Impact Of Stress On Cancer Progression And How To Manage It

Cancer is a debilitating disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Not only does it take a physical toll on the body, but it also causes emotional and psychological distress, leading to increased stress levels. Stress activates the body's fight or flight response, releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that trigger inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development and progression of cancer, as well as its ability to resist treatment. When stress levels remain high, the immune system is weakened, making it more difficult for the body to fight cancer cells.

Furthermore, stress can also lead to unhealthy habits such as overeating, smoking, and alcohol consumption, which can further increase the risk of cancer and its progression. The psychological distress caused by cancer and its treatment can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, further exacerbating the impact of stress on the disease.

It is important to adopt healthy coping strategies. Exercise, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation have been shown to be effective in reducing stress levels and improving overall well-being. It is also important to maintain a healthy diet, as well as getting adequate sleep and avoiding harmful habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Stay connected

The most effective method of stress relief is frequently talking to other people and having people to lean on. The network of people who support a cancer patient can be very diverse. Spending time with people who have the same cancer type as you and are going through the same stresses can be very calming.


An effective way to reduce stress is to talk to a neutral third party rather than your friends and family who might be afraid or ill-prepared to handle your emotions. It can be calming to get your thoughts and feelings out in the open. Depending on your preference, talking to comfortable friends and family members can produce the same outcome.


Exercises can also be beneficial for treating depression and chronic stress. The top change on the list of small ones that can make you happier is staying active. Exercise regularly if at all possible to release endorphins into the brain. Exercise may not always be an option for cancer patients, but there are still other things they can do that will have a similar impact.

Breathing exercises and meditation

Meditation and breathing exercises are effective passive methods for reducing stress. There are many simple breathing techniques that can be used, and slow, deep breaths are always beneficial in a stressful situation. Different brain neurons are activated by deep inhalations, signalling the body to relax. It can lower stress and encourage optimistic thinking.

Dr.Atul Sharma
Senior Consultant
Department of Medical Oncology
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