Changes In Genes In Stomach Cancer Cells
Recent research has provided clues on how some stomach cancers form. For instance, H pylori bacteria, particularly certain subtypes, can convert substances in some foods into chemicals that cause mutations in the DNA of the cells in the stomach lining. This may help explain why certain foods such as preserved meats increase a persons risk for stomach cancer. On the other hand, some of the foods that might lower stomach cancer risk, such as fruits and vegetables, contain antioxidants that can block substances that damage a cells DNA.
Stomach cancers, like other cancers, are caused by changes in the DNA inside cells. DNA is the chemical that carries our genes, which control how our cells function. We look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA affects more than how we look.
Some genes control when cells grow, divide into new cells, and die:
- Genes that normally help cells grow, divide, and stay alive can sometimes change to become oncogenes.
- Genes that help keep cell division under control, repair mistakes in DNA, or cause cells to die at the right time are called tumor suppressor genes.
Cancers can be caused by DNA changes that keep oncogenes turned on, or that turn off tumor suppressor genes.
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Dr. Hamer, a German oncologist, developed cancer in the late 70s, shortly after his son’s untimely death. Theorizing there was a connection between stress and cancer after the stress of his son’s death was followed by his development of cancer, he began to investigate his cancer patients’ histories, and found that they too had experienced an unexpected shock or trauma shortly before their cancer.
Dr. Hamer suffered over the years for his controversial theories on stress and cancer. One prosecutor pulled his records, and went through patient after patient. Out of 6500 patients with terminal cancer, 6000 were alive. Pretty impressive.
Stress And Cancer Risk
It’s tricky to design a study to show that stress fuels cancer in part because the experience of stress is so subjective and hard to measure. Stress can also manifest itself in the body in very different ways depending on how an individual perceives and copes with it, Toworoger said
“Some people have a negative response to job stress and some people love being stressed out in their jobs,” Tworoger said. In fact, “they thrive on it.” This perception, in turn, affects how the body responds.
As a result, many human studies rely on associations rather than cause and effect to show a link between stress levels and cancer incidence.
Previous studies have suggested, for example, that chronic stress is associated with an increased risk of a number of cancers, including breast cancer and some gastrointestinal cancers.
A Japanese study published in 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports looked at the correlation between stress levels and cancer in more than 100,000 people. They found no association between short-term stress and cancer incidence, but found that individuals, specifically men, who consistently had high-stress levels for a long time had an 11% greater risk of developing cancer than those with consistently low stress levels.
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Blame Epinephrine Not Cortisol
When they looked into how various physiological factors changed in the mice that had experienced chronic stress, the researchers closed in on a hormone called epinephrine.
The stressed mice had much higher levels of this hormone than the mice in the control group. Also, in mice from the experimental group that had received a drug that blocked ADRB2 which is an epinephrine receptor cancer tumors were smaller and the numbers of cancer stem cells were also lower.
When most people think of stress, says Kelley, they think its cortisol thats suppressing the immune system. However, he adds, The amazing thing is cortisol was actually lower after a month of stress.
How does epinephrine help cancer stem cells thrive? The authors explain that when this hormone binds to ADRB2, the interaction boosts levels of lactate dehydrogenase, an enzyme that normally gives muscles an injection of energy in a danger situation. This allows the person to either fight the threat or run away from it.
A byproduct of this energy boost is the production of an organic compound called lactate. In the case of people with cancer, the harmful cells actually feed on this compound it allows them to acquire more energy.
This means that if a person has chronic stress, they will have too much lactate dehydrogenase in their system. This, in turn, will activate genes related to cancer growth and allow cancer cells to thrive.
Glucocorticoids & Immune Response
Glucocorticoids are essential for the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses. Physiological concentrations of GCs in the range of 350950 nmol/l, as occur during physical or psychological stress, result in modulation of transcription of genes involved in the inflammatory response, whereas pharmacological doses result in a suppression of the inflammatory response . Similarly, during chronic stress situations, elevated levels of GCs have been shown to be immunosuppressive, leading to an enhanced susceptibility to viral infection, prolonged wound healing or decreased antibody production after vaccination . Breast cancer patients with higher mean diurnal cortisol concentrations also showed suppressed immunity against commonly encountered antigens, suggesting blunting of the cellular immune response. Within the immune system, T and B cells, neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages all carry GCRs, allowing for GC regulation of both the cellular and humoral immune responses . In addition, GCs can induce apoptosis in monocytes, macrophages and T lymphocytes , providing further evidence of their ability to regulate normal immune function.
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How Does The Body Respond During Stress
The body responds to physical, mental, or emotional pressure by releasing stress hormones that increase blood pressure, speed heart rate, and raise blood sugar levels. These changes help a person act with greater strength and speed to escape a perceived threat.
Research has shown that people who experience intense and long-term stress can have digestive problems, fertility problems, urinary problems, and a weakened immune system. People who experience chronic stress are also more prone to viral infections such as the flu or common cold and to have headaches, sleep trouble, depression, and anxiety.
Living With Cancer And Coping With Stress
The question of managing stress and coming to grips with a life-threatening disease is a profound one and one that cannot be dealt with adequately in the current format. However, if you have cancer, many people in your shoes have said that they benefited from cancer education, social support in a group, regular exercise, counseling or talk therapy, as well as medication for depression and anxiety.
According to the National Cancer Institute, coping is the use of thoughts and behaviors to adjust to life situations, and the institute notes that people cope in different ways. A persons coping style is often linked to their personality.
Its also important to realize that coping can be equivalent to a new part-time job, of sorts. Give yourself some time to devote to it, and know that those job requirements can shift around during different stages as you reach new terrain in your cancer journey. There can be distinct emotions that come with the territory at each of the following stages, for instance: being diagnosed, being treated, reaching the end of treatment, being in remission, and learning cancer has come back.
On the question of depression in cancer, the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends that every patient with cancer be screened for depression when the diagnosis of cancer is first made, and on an ongoing basis, especially at key stages or times of change in the person’s disease.
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Can Stress Cause Breast Cancer
“You can’t tell me I didn’t have breakup cancer,” said Katherine Russell Rich in her book The Red Devil. She found a breast lump right after her divorce and was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. Elizabeth Edwards was helping her husband campaign for Vice President when she found her breast lump. You may know somebody with a similar story: after a period of chronic stress or significant loss, they found a lump and were diagnosed with cancer.
It may seem natural to associate negative emotions with breast cancer, but researchers are not sure if, or why, your body may be more vulnerable to cancer due to stress. And, not everybody who has stress gets sick. Some people seem to be able to de-stress or fight back, without risking their health.
In 2008, a group of Israeli scientists studied a group of women under 45 years old. They found that young women who had endured two or more traumatic life events had a higher than average rate of depression and greater vulnerability to breast cancer. The younger a woman was when a crisis hit, the greater their risk for cancer.
Likewise, a Scandinavian study found an increased risk of breast cancer among women who perceived their lives to be more stressful.
Stress, Your Immune System, and Stress Hormones
It’s important to understand that stress rarely happens in isolation, and perhaps some of the things people do when stressed play a role. For example, some people eat more or drink more, or smoke when stressed.
How Is Thyroid Cancer Diagnosed
If you have a lump in your neck that could be thyroid cancer, your doctor may do a biopsy of your thyroid gland to check for cancer cells. A biopsy is a simple procedure in which a small piece of the thyroid tissue is removed, usually with a needle, and then checked.
Sometimes the results of a biopsy are not clear. In this case, you may need surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland before you find out if you have thyroid cancer.
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Stress And Living With Cancer
There’s an old joke that the only people who have no stress are those who live in graveyards. But stress is a normal part of life to which we all respond differently, depending on our personalities, backgrounds, and situations. While stress can provide great motivation for some people, it can cause health problems such as headaches, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, dental problems, and ulcers for others.
Scientists aren’t completely convinced that stress causes cancer, but it can certainly lessen your quality of life.
How To Treat A Psychogenic Fever
If you are experiencing a psychogenic fever, youll need to work to reduce your stress levels. A 2015 article in the journal Temperature noted that psychogenic fevers are not typically reduced when treated with common anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen, even though they work to reduce most fevers.
Most psychogenic fevers are short-lived and resolve on their own. Decreasing stress through therapy and non-medical interventions like mindfulness can also help treat psychogenic fevers.
If a fever is due to stress, it is essential to decrease the stress, Miller Parrish says. First, youll need to identify whats stressing you out. It might be one specific incident, or an on-going stressor like untreated anxiety, depression, or work-related burnout. Once youve identified the source of the stress, you can address the root cause of the fever.
Depending on the cause, the antidote could be cognitive-behavioral or other psychological therapy, meditation, yoga and practices that focus on decreasing a stressful state, or perhaps even medication to treat the issue, Miller Parrish says.
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Find Support For Ptsd
Talk with your health care team for help in finding resources for PTSD. Your hospitals social work or discharge department may also be able to connect you with counseling services and support groups in your community. Here are some other tips for finding help:
Contact your local health department, community mental health agency, or family services agency.
If your workplace has an employee assistance program, ask if it provides mental health counselor referrals.
Ask your health insurance company for a list of local mental health counselors.
How Much Stress Is Too Much
Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, its important to know your own limit. But just how much stress is too much differs from person to person. Some people seem to be able to roll with lifes punches, while others tend to crumble in the face of small obstacles or frustrations. Some people even thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.
Factors that influence your stress tolerance level include:
Your support network. A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against stress. When you have people you can count on, lifes pressures dont seem as overwhelming. On the flip side, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your risk of succumbing to stress.
Your sense of control. If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, its easier to take stress in stride. On the other hand, if you believe that you have little control over your lifethat youre at the mercy of your environment and circumstancesstress is more likely to knock you off course.
Your attitude and outlook. The way you look at life and its inevitable challenges makes a huge difference in your ability to handle stress. If youre generally hopeful and optimistic, youll be less vulnerable. Stress-hardy people tend to embrace challenges, have a stronger sense of humor, believe in a higher purpose, and accept change as an inevitable part of life.
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More Stress Means Unhealthful Habits That Contribute To Cancer Mutations
In a kind of double whammy, people who are stressed-out are less likely to exercise and eat healthfully. In fact, unhealthful eating may be triggered by stress-induced hormones and other chemicals flooding the body. Being overweight or obese is responsible for approximately 8 percent of all cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.
Chronic stress is also likely to induce us to take up cancer promoting habits, such as smoking and excessive drinking. It leads to lifestyle changes that are pro-inflammatory and pro-carcinogenic, says Ocean. Keep these habits up for a long time and your risk of developing cancer goes up, too.
Common Cancer Myths And Misconceptions
Certain popular ideas about how cancer starts and spreadsthough scientifically wrongcan seem to make sense, especially when those ideas are rooted in old theories. But wrong ideas about cancer can lead to needless worry and even hinder good prevention and treatment decisions. This page provides the latest science-based information about some common cancer myths and misconceptions.
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Effects Of Employment Stress
A group of researchers at the University of Montreal in Canada focused on the association between perceived workplace psychological stress and cancer. They set out study the relationship between work-related stress over an entire career span, and the development of cancer, something that had never been done before. Findings were striking, although the study was not designed to allow for any solid conclusions regarding cause and effect.
For the study, researchers interviewed 3,103 men who were diagnosed with one of 11 cancer types between 1979 and 1985. In another group, they had interviews from 512 men in the general population who served as the studys controls. All of the men included for the study were asked to describe each job they worked during their lifetime, with attention to work-related stress and the reason why they felt stressed at work. The average man in the study held four jobs during his career, but some participants held up to a dozen or more jobs.
The Link Among Stress Your Immune System And Cancer
Cancer occurs when a cell acquires a number of mutations in genes involved in the regulation of cell division, proliferation, and programmed cell death . Its a multi-hit phenomenon, meaning that many genes need to be affected before a cell turns cancerous. When enough genes controlling these functions are disabled, a cancer cell is free to divide relentlessly and endlessly.
The hits take various forms. Some people may inherit a gene that predisposes them to cancer, such as the BRCA1 gene, which has been linked to many cancers, including breast cancer. But a cell requires more genetic hits to trigger cancer. If, on top of that, someone has a very stressful lifestyle, or they smoke, or are very overweight over time, those might all be additional hits to the system, says Dr. Ocean.
Under normal circumstances, the body is exquisitely primed to prevent those multiple hits from leading to cancer. Cells are constantly mutating in the body, but many biological processes exist to keep those mutating cells from turning into tumors, says Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, director of the Integrative Medicine Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
One of those processes is performed by the immune system. Typically, the immune system is constantly surveying the body, on alert to kill invading viruses or mutating cells, a process known as cell-mediated immunity, Dr. Cohen says.
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