STRESS + CANCER
Stress can affect your immune system. Studies show that stress can possibly interfere with the way certain cells in your immune system work. In particular, it affects cells that find and that kill emerging cancer cells.
People with better support tend to have better functioning immune systems. They also tend to have lower levels of certain stress hormones. Some research is showing that people with more support have lower levels of chemicals that promote new cell growth and make tumors more aggressive.
Support makes it easier to develop qualities you need to deal with stress. For example, it can help you develop more active coping skills.
•It can help you see an event as less stressful. That will lessen your body’s response to it.
•It can improve how you cope by providing advice, problem solving techniques and resources for help when you need it.
•It can help enhance positive health behaviors such as exercise and proper nutrition.
•It can provide support that makes it easier to adhere to your medical treatment plan.
In addition to a support network, there are potential benefits from programs that help you learn how to manage stress. Such programs include:
•Cognitive behavioral therapy
•Alternative therapies such as Healing Touch
These programs can not only help deal with the stress that comes from having cancer, but the stress that can come from treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.