Stress Hormones Trigger Inflammation Linked To Cancer
When youre experiencing acute or chronic stress, the body is flooded with whats known as the stress-response hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, which can suppress the immune systems response to mutated cells.
The trouble occurs when youre under chronic stress that is, prolonged, unremitting or when you experience acute stress several times a day over a period of time. Your body is then constantly being flooded with these stress hormones.
Some research seems to buttress the stress-inflammation-cancer connection. A Canadian study published in November 2017 in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, for example, included work history interviews with nearly 2,000 men, age 75 or younger, who were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, and approximately the same number of matched controls. They found that those men who reported having had at least one stressful job over the course of their lifetime were more likely to develop prostate cancer before age 65. The average age of diagnosis is about 66, according to The American Cancer Society.
Theres another way in which the stress hormones might promote cancer: Norepinephrine may bind with beta receptors that live on the surface of some tumor cells, causing them to proliferate. Norepinephrine can fuel a tumors ability to form new blood vessels, Cohen says. New data shows that stress hormones might also increase nerve growth and density at the tumor site, which are associated with worse outcomes in people.
Depression And Pancreatic Cancer: A Poorly Understood Link
Nektaria Makrilia1, Bonnie Indeck2, Kostas Syrigos1,2, Muhammad Wasif Saif2
1Oncology Unit, Third Department of Medicine, Athens School of Medicine, Sotiria General Hospital. Athens, Greece
2Department of Clinical Oncology, Yale School of Medicine and Cancer Center. New Haven, CT, USA
- *Corresponding Author:
- Division of Medical Oncology, 333 Cedar Street,FMP 116, New Haven, CT 06520, USAPhone: +1-203.737.1569
Visit for more related articles at
Depression Epidemiology Pancreatic Neoplasms /physiopathology Therapeutics
MAOI: monoamine oxidase inhibitor SSRI: selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor
Several studies, dating back as early as the 1930s, have been conducted in order to examine the association between depression and pancreatic cancer . A study in 1967 showed that more than half of patients with pancreatic cancer had psychological symptoms occurring as early as 43 months before physical symptoms . When depression is considered a normal phenomenon in cancer patients, its impact on the quality of life is trivialized. This review studies the literature regarding the association between depression and pancreatic cancer as well the appropriate therapeutic approach.
Diagnosis of Depression in Cancer Patients
1. medical factors: advanced disease, treatment, pain, physical disability, family history of depression
Paraneoplastic Syndrome Depression
Types Of Endocrine Pancreatic Cancer
Five-percent of pancreatic tumors are Endocrine tumors, also called, ‘neuroendocrine tumors,’ or, ‘islet cell tumors.’ In the pancreas are islet cells that produce hormones which are responsible for the production of glucon, insulin, and somatostatin. One of the major functions of these hormones is the control of the amount of sugar in the blood stream. Endocrine tumors are often slower to grow than other tumors, and can be either benign or malignant. Endocrine tumor may be either functional, in that they produce hormones, or they may be non-function, in that they do not. The tumors that are non-functional are malignant ninety-percent of the time. Below is a description of different types of Endocrine tumors.
A Gastrinoma is commonly associated with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and recurrent ulcers obtaining a diagnosis is typically dependent upon finding elevated gastrin hormone levels, as well as imaging studies. Every so often a Gastrinoma can be inherited, and when it is a part of a genetic syndrome called, ‘Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1 ,’ there is the potential for multiple tumors which may be located within the head of the pancreas, or within the duodenum. The majority of Gastrinomas are malignant if they are not, they have the potential to become malignant. With improved awareness and screening techniques, diagnosis of tumors while they are still benign is increasing.
Nonfunctional Islet Cell Tumor
Read Also: How To Fight Stress And Anxiety Naturally
Family Cancer Syndromes And Genetic Factors
Sometimes pancreatic cancer is found to run in families. But only between 5 and 10 in 100 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have a family history of it.
You have an increased risk if you have a first degree relative with pancreatic cancer. This risk is higher if you have more than one first degree relative with the disease, or a first degree relative is diagnosed at a young age.
Pancreatic cancer can be part of a family cancer syndrome, where an inherited family gene causes a number of different cancers to develop within the members of one family.
Your risk of pancreatic cancer is higher if you carry the faulty breast cancer gene BRCA2. There is also some evidence that having a BRCA1 gene fault could increase your risk of pancreatic cancer. But the evidence is less strong.
The pancreatic cancer risk is higher in people who have:
- Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
- Familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome
- Lynch syndrome/hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer
You often know about these conditions already if one runs in your family.
The risk of pancreatic cancer is increased if you have a history of the following:
Pancreatic Cancer And Depression
A comprehensive study by Hinz et al. has reported that the prevalence of anxiety and depression in cancer patients is nearly as twice as high as in the general population . This observation is consistent with data from the large nord-trondelag health study by Stordal et al. . Several preceding studies reported similar results but a few did not show elevated depression scores related to cancer . Regarding the diversity of studies on this topic any inconsistency in findings can be mainly attributed to low sample size, the lack of differentiation by gender, age and time since diagnosis, treatment and other methodological flaws as well . Those studies evaluating different tumor entities separately have remarkably high depression rates associated with specific tumor types in common. In particular patients with pancreatic, lung, oropharyngeal and breast cancer are seriously affected by emotional burden and major depression . In this respect pancreatic cancer is the tumor entity with the highest incidence rate of depression among all other tumors of the digestive system .
Don’t Miss: What Medicine Is Good For Stress
Confusion Restlessness Or Agitation
Sometimes a person may become confused, restless or agitated. Your loved one may not know where they are or who is with them. Or they may fidget, or want to move about even if theyre not able to. You may want to reassure them by reminding them of who you are and what is going on around them.
They may describe speaking to someone who has died or they may see things that arent there. If theyre not upset, its fine to talk to them about what they can see or hear. Some people may be frightened staying near them, gently touching them and reassuring them may help. A calm room with quiet music and familiar items like photos nearby can also help.
It can be upsetting for you if your family member is confused or agitated. There could be different reasons for why it is happening, so speak to the doctor or nurse. They will look for anything that is causing it, like pain, problems with their bladder or bowels, or issues with their medicines. They may recommend giving medicine to relax and calm them. Or they may suggest putting in a catheter . This will stop the bladder getting full and causing discomfort. If you are worried that your family member may be in pain, the doctor or nurse can help with this.
What Is Psychological Stress
Psychological stress describes what people feel when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. Although it is normal to experience some psychological stress from time to time, people who experience high levels of psychological stress or who experience it repeatedly over a long period of time may develop health problems .
Stress can be caused both by daily responsibilities and routine events, as well as by more unusual events, such as a trauma or illness in oneself or a close family member. When people feel that they are unable to manage or control changes caused by cancer or normal life activities, they are in distress. Distress has become increasingly recognized as a factor that can reduce the quality of life of cancer patients. There is even some evidence that extreme distress is associated with poorer clinical outcomes. Clinical guidelines are available to help doctors and nurses assess levels of distress and help patients manage it.
This fact sheet provides a general introduction to the stress that people may experience as they cope with cancer. More detailed information about specific psychological conditions related to stress can be found in the Related Resources and Selected References at the end of this fact sheet.
You May Like: What’s The Difference Between Anxiety And Stress
Keep Calm And Carry On: Emotional Or Psychological Stress Can Give You Cancer
Stress can speed up the development of pancreatic cancer, finds a study. The researchers stated that stress triggers the release of fight-or-flight hormones. Beta-blockers–commonly used medications that inhibit these hormones–were found to increase survival in a mouse model of the disease. An additional analysis of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer revealed that those who were taking selective beta-blockers, which are used to treat heart conditions, lived approximately two-thirds longer than those who were not taking the medications.
Recent studies have shown that emotional and psychological stress play a role in the development of tumours in general. This effect is thought to occur through the sympathetic nervous system, which releases hormones that give the body a surge of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. Some biologists dismissed this idea because stress is hard to measure, said study leader Timothy C. Wang, MD, the Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silberberg Professor of Medicine at CUMC. Others wondered how stress could possibly be related to a biological process that involves DNA mutations and the growth of cancer cells within a particular organ, such as the pancreas.
Follow for more
Can Stress Cause Cancer
When examining the link between stress and cancer, the research is mixed. Some experts suggest that stress can cause cancer, while others believe it may only contribute to the condition.
Though its unclear whether stress can directly cause cancer, a 2021 study does suggest that it can promote and facilitate its development.
For instance, stress can cause us to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking, smoking, or making nonnutritious dietary choices. These habits can lead to a variety of health issues, including cancer and other conditions.
Chronic stress in particular has been examined in how it can contribute to illness. A found that prolonged stress can promote the development of cancer because it can weaken the bodys immune response and other necessary functioning.
A 2021 study found that stress may have a greater impact on people who have been successfully treated for cancer. In the study, researchers found that stress may reactivate dormant tumor cells, causing cancer to return in those in remission.
Researchers believe that other factors may have contributed to why cancer returned for patients in the study, but more research is needed to fully understand these findings.
While stress may not cause cancer, it likely has an impact on those who have existing cancer.
Animal studies support these findings. A
You May Like: Can Stress Cause High Eosinophils
Findings Suggest Beta Blockers Which Inhibit Stress Hormones May Increase Survival
A new study shows that stress accelerates the development of pancreatic cancer by triggering the release of fight or flight hormones. Beta blockers, commonly used medications that inhibit these hormones, were found to increase survival in a mouse model of the disease.
An additional analysis of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer revealed that those who were taking beta blockers for another condition lived approximately two-thirds longer than those who were not taking the medications.
The study, conducted by Columbia University Irving Medical Center researchers, was published online in the journal Cancer Cell.
Recent studies show link between stress and tumor development
Recent studies have shown that emotional and psychological stress plays a role in the development of tumors in general. This effect is thought to occur through the sympathetic nervous system, which releases hormones that give the body a surge of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers.
Some biologists dismissed this idea because stress is hard to measure, said study leader Timothy C. Wang, MD, the Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silberberg Professor of Medicine. Others wondered how stress could possibly be related to a biological process that involves DNA mutations and the growth of cancer cells within a particular organ, such as the pancreas.
Stress promotes development of precancerous growths in pancreas
Stress works via pancreatic nerves
My Thoughts On Pancreatic Cancer
You Can Heal Your Life,Please note: Energy Healing is not a substitute for medical care.
- The body feels the full range of emotions ranging from stress, tension and anxiety to joy and laughter. Positive emotions flow through our system freely while those at the negative end of the spectrum often need to be released consciously. How does your body react to stress: hunched shoulders, tense back, upset stomach, etc? It is widely accepted that the body retains these emotions and that we need to let them go – often by self-healing.
- When a person holds onto anger, fear or sadness, those emotions sit in the body. I believe buried anger and resentment to be emotional risk factors for some types of cancer and that with time, holding onto this energy takes it’s toll on the physical body. In my view, the problem is that most of us were not given the tools to understand and heal our emotions on a daily basis, instead leaving them to simmer. Energy healing can help us bring about peace, forgiveness and relaxation in this way Energy healing complements medical care.
- In the case of pancreatic cancer the energy healing session would focus on the Heart Chakra. This energy center is known for universal love: how we feel about our parents, siblings and close friends. If someone dear to our heart is harmed, or if they betray us, it can be very hard to heal and move on. Disappointments of this kind are said to leave an emotional mark on the pancreas because it is so close to the heart .
You May Like: How To Stop Stress Itching
Coping With Physical Side Effects
Common physical side effects from each treatment option for pancreatic cancer are listed in the Types of Treatment section. Learn more about side effects of cancer and its treatment, along with ways to prevent or control them. Changes to your physical health depend on several factors, including the cancers stage, the length and dose of treatment, and your general health.
Talk with your health care team regularly about how you are feeling. It is important to let them know about any new side effects or changes in existing side effects. If they know how you are feeling, they can find ways to relieve or manage your side effects to help you feel more comfortable and potentially keep any side effects from worsening.
You may find it helpful to keep track of your side effects so it is easier to explain any changes to your health care team. Learn more about why tracking side effects is helpful.
Sometimes, side effects can last after treatment ends. Doctors call these long-term side effects. They call side effects that occur months or years after treatment late effects. Treating long-term side effects and late effects is an important part of survivorship care. Learn more by reading the Follow-up Care section of this guide or talking with your doctor.
Effects Of Psychological Stress
While some stress is the good stress that keeps us motivated and prevents us from boredom, there is another type of stress that appears to be more pernicious.
According to the National Cancer Institute , psychological stress is what people feel when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. And there is evidence that people who have high levels of psychological stress in their lives, or who experience stress frequently over a long period of time, may be at risk for developing a variety of health problems, including cancer. However, at least with respect to cancer, there are many unknowns.
Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Hair Thinning
What Is The #1 Cause Of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells begin to grow uncontrollably and form tumors within the pancreas.
- Age > 45 years
- Regular consumption of high dietary fats
- Family history of pancreatic cancer
- Heavy exposure to certain chemicals used in the dry cleaning and metalworking industries
Other factors that may contribute to the development of cancer include:
- Lack of physical activities
Symptoms Of Rare Pancreatic Cancers
Islet cell tumors, also called neuroendocrine tumors, arise from the cells in the pancreas that make hormones. Islet cell tumors account for less than 5% of all pancreas tumors.
Like pancreatic adenocarcinoma, islet cell tumors may cause abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. Hormones released by an islet cell tumor can also cause symptoms: These include
- Insulinomas : sweating, anxiety, lightheadedness, and fainting from low blood sugar
- Glucagonomas : diarrhea, excessive thirst or urination, weight loss
- Gastrinomas : abdominal pain, stomach ulcers that can bleed, reflux, weight loss
- Somatostatinomas : diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, foul-smelling fatty stools
- VIPomas : watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, facial flushing
Don’t Miss: How Much Can Stress Raise Blood Sugar