Stress and Cancer

May 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm  •  0 Comments

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Cancer is stressful for everyone involved.  According to a recent study at Stanford University:

“It’s bad enough that cancer diagnosis and treatment generates stress and anxiety, but this study shows that anxiety and stress can accelerate cancer progression, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle,” Dhabhar said. “The goal is to ameliorate or eliminate the effects of anxiety and chronic stress, at least at the time of cancer diagnosis and during treatment.”

-Firdaus Dhabhar, PhD, Stress Expert and Immunologist

The study will go on to look at whether reducing stress helps improve treatment results.

For all of us dealing with cancer, stress is a reality.  Learning to manage the stress–through exercise, meditation, yoga, enhanced present moment awareness or any other avenue–may be more critical than we realized. On a personal level, I have come to believe that stress is a critical part of the cancer equation.

My cancer came on during a period of great personal disconnection and professional conflicts.   After a round of chemo that resulted in a clear PET scan, the lymphoma came back, once again, during a period of very high stress.  I realized that I had to take control and learn to actively manage my state of mind and my reaction to things. Stress management became my #1 priority (along with nutrition, connection and exercise!)  I started actively using guided cancer meditations and decided to take a transcendental meditation class with Stephen Jacobs, the Anti-Cancer Club meditation series teacher.  This means a commitment to two twenty minute meditation sessions daily.

Whatever you decide to do regarding the stress of managing the cancer in your life, take control!  Manage your stress, don’t let it manage you.

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