Back in September, I wrote an article about how a negative attitude and stress is a no-no for cancer patients/survivors.  I am going to re-run it in it’s entirety below.  Then I’m going to run some excerpts and a link to a new article that long time reader and nutritional columnist at sent me a few days back, confirming and reinforcing the “stress is bad” hypothesis.

Here goes.  First my post from September:

Proof a negative attitude may hurt cancer patient’s overall survival

I ran a series of posts about whether cancer patients with positive attitudes live longer a while back on my daily myeloma (bone marrow cancer) blog:

Does a positive attitude really help myeloma patients live longer? YES!

YOUR MISSION: Help me start a “positive posse!”

A number of readers emailed me with anecdotal evidence.  But no one (including me!) were able to locate a research or study confirming our hypothesis.

But it is much easier to locate data about how a NEGATIVE attitude can hurt a patients recovery and possibly even survival.  Here’s an excerpt of an example that I found on CNN last week:

Stress, depression may affect cancer survival

By Amanda Enayati, Special to CNN
September 14, 2012

Editor’s note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

(CNN) — “A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ,” John Steinbeck once wrote. Now we are closer to understanding why.

A disease like cancer can be a mortal battle, often fraught with overwhelming stress. Given that stress management can be difficult even under ordinary circumstances, elevated feelings of anxiety and depression in cancer patients are certainly understandable.

Yet, several recent studies underscore how critically important it is for those fighting illness to learn how to combat stress…

  • A study finds depression symptoms are associated with increased risk of death
  • Researchers identified the stress hormone cortisol and inflammatory pathways
  • Over a prolonged period of chronic stress, body tissue becomes desensitized

So does proving a negative also help confirm a positive?  If a negative attitude hurts one’s chances, doesn’t that imply a positive attitude can help?

CLICK HERE to read the article in it’s entirety.  Interesting stuff!

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

Now excerpts and a link to the related Forbes article from earlier this week:

New Study Shows How Stress Feeds Cancer Cells

By David DiSalvo

Prostate cancer micrograph, image via Wikpedia/Forbes

For years we’ve heard that there’s a connection between stress and cancer. The claim is anecdotal, but has a certain horse sense that appeals to reason — stress is hard on the body, causing hormonal reactions that can potentially influence the development of cancerous cells.

New research doesn’t quite prove the claim, but does indicate that once cancer has taken hold, stress biochemically feeds its growth.  The study, by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, focused on the effects of stress on prostate cancer, and found that stress can both reduce the effectiveness of prostate cancer drugs and accelerate the development of the cancer…

Apparently Wake Forest Baptist researchers discovered how “the cell signaling pathway by which epinephrine, a hormone also known as adrenaline, sets off the cellular chain reaction that controls cell death.”

George Kulik, an associate professor of cancer biology explains it this way:

“Considering that prostate cancer diagnosis increases stress and anxiety levels, stress-induced activation of the signaling pathway that turns off the cell death process may lead to a vicious cycle of stress and cancer progression.”

Before everyone gets too excited (or stressed!), I should note that these tests Professor Kulik is discussing were done on mice.  And we all should realize by now how that these things don’t always translate to humans.  Still, it doesn’t take much evidence to convince me that stress isn’t good for me or my fellow cancer survivors–and it may have contributed to the cause of some of our cancers in the first place.

As promised, here’s the link so you can read the article:

So take a chill pill, long walk on the beach, meditate or stop-off at your local tavern (just kidding!).  Anything to help keep things mellow, dig?

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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