A little stress can do us good—it pushes us to
compete and innovate. But chronic stress can increase
the risk of diseases such as depression, heart disease
and even cancer. Studies have shown that stress might
promote cancer indirectly by weakening the immune
system's anti-tumor defense or by encouraging new
tumor-feeding blood vessels to form. But a new study
published April 12 in The Journal of Clinical
Investigation shows that stress hormones, such as
adrenaline, can directly support tumor growth and
Depression appears to somewhat heighten the risk of breast cancer, but it has no significant association with lung, colon or prostate cancer, according to a review of the medical literature conducted by Dutch researchers.
"Depression is related to a slightly increased risk of cancer," investigator Dr. Marjan van den Akker told Reuters Health. "The relation with breast cancer gets stronger with a longer follow-up period." van den Akker, of Maastricht University, and colleagues came to this conclusion after examining data from 13 studies involving more than 127,000 patients. Their findings are published in the journal Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health.
Based on eight studies with complete data, the researchers calculated that the overall risk of cancer was increased by 12 percent in individuals with depression.
Based on data from seven studies that looked at a mixture of factors, no significant association was seen between depression and the development of breast cancer.
However, analysis of a subgroup of studies that included at least 10 years of follow-up showed a significant association -- patients with depression had a 2.5-fold increased risk of developing breast cancer compared with undepressed patients.
"With the evidence available at this moment, it's difficult to disentangle the possible effects of depression and antidepressants on the occurrence of subsequent cancer," continued van den Akker. "It's not yet possible to translate these results into preventive interventions," she concluded.
How Does Stress Increase the Risk for Disease?
Stress itself is a risk factor, that high levels of stress make other risk factors (such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure) worse. For example, if you are under stress, your blood pressure goes up, you may overeat, you may exercise less, and you may be more likely to smoke.
Chronic stress exposes your body to unhealthy, persistently elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attack.
Does Stress Affect Everyone the Same?
No. People respond in different ways to events and situations. One person may find an event joyful and gratifying, but another person may find the same event miserable and frustrating. Sometimes, people may handle stress in ways that make bad situations worse by reacting with feelings of anger, guilt, fear, hostility, anxiety, and moodiness. Others may face life's challenges with ease.
What Causes Stress?
Stress can be caused by a physical or emotional change, or a change in your environment that requires you to adjust or respond. Things that make you feel stressed are called "stressors."
Stressors can be minor hassles, major lifestyle changes, or a combination of both. Being able to identify stressors in your life and releasing the tension they cause are the keys to managing stress.
How to overcome stress?
Stress is easy to overcome this is simply done by praying everyday to God. If you put your trust in God then all stress will disappear.