Could Chronic Stress Increase Your Risk of Getting Cancer?

“Recent reports show changes in Interleukin in human saliva change with stress levels. Interleukin is bad. See reference below.” Bill Chesnut, MD

 Could Chronic Stress Increase Your Risk of Getting Cancer?   by Mladen Golubic, M.D., Ph. D.   Cleveland Clinic Wellness

Chronic stress has been associated with increased risk of cancer. How could stress impact your risk of getting cancer? Here’s how it works: Stress leads to hyper activation of the sympathetic nervous system – otherwise known as the “fight or flight response” – and the release of stress hormones, such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol and neuropeptide Y (NPY). In test tube experiments, norepinephrine and epinephrine may contribute to cancer progression by preventing cancer cell death. And in recent studies, NPY was shown to stimulate cell division (needed for cancer growth) and cell motility (needed for cancer spread) of human breast cancer cells. Cancer survivors who practice relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, show a decrease in stress response, have less anxiety and better mood and quality of life. To what degree these desirable and beneficial effects are related to modulation of stress hormones remains to be examined. Regardless of the mechanisms involved, low-tech but highly beneficial interventions like yoga and meditation can be practiced by any cancer survivor. Needless to say, such practices do not interfere at all with any cancer treatment modality. Having good social support (friends, friends, friends) and being physically active are other ways to diminish the negative effects of chronic stress.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Jul;1261:88-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06634.x.

Role of interleukin-6 in stress, sleep, and fatigue..

Rohleder N1Aringer MBoentert M.

Chronic low-grade inflammation, in particular increased concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-6 in the circulation, is observed with increasing age, but it is also as a consequence of various medical and psychological conditions, as well as life-style choices. Since molecules such as IL-6 have pleiotropic effects, consequences are wide ranging. This short review summarizes the evidence showing how IL-6 elevations in the context of inflammatory disease affect the organism, with a focus on sleep-related symptoms and fatigue; and conversely, how alterations in sleep duration and quality stimulate increased concentrations of IL-6 in the circulation. Research showing that acute as well as chronic psychological stress also increase concentrations of IL-6 supports the notion of a close link between an organism’s response to physiological and psychological perturbations. The findings summarized here further underscore the particular importance of IL-6 as a messenger molecule that connects peripheral regulatory processes with the CNS. (emphasis mine. BC.)

© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.