stress and illness

Can Stress Affect the Spread of Cancer?

New research from Trinity College Dublin indicates that when a particular stress response is blocked (by drugs) the spread (metastasis) of breast cancer can be significantly reduced.

boston cancer brooklineHealth Research Board Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Ian Barron from the University’s Pharmacology and Therapeutic department conducted the research.

The study focused on a group of women in Ireland who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2000 and 2007 and found that the women who took drugs that blocked a particular hormone-related stress pathway had a decreased risk of dying from the cancer.

When compared to the control group, women taking the drugs in the year prior to diagnosis were less likely to develop metastatic or invasive breast cancer. The same group, who continued to take the drug after diagnosis, was also less likely to die from cancer in the following 5 years after their diagnosis.

Dr Barron has said:

“For patients with cancer, higher levels of stress are associated with more frequent disease recurrence, faster disease progression and higher rates of death from cancer.

“Some lab-based studies have suggested how stress hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenalin, could play a role in this process. Ours is the first study in humans to show that blocking this stress response significantly reduces the risk of cancer spreading or metastasizing. Because the majority of all cancer deaths are due to the growth of tumor metastases, this research could have significant implications for clinical practice.”

This research is interesting because once again it confirms what those who are interested in the field of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) have been aware of for some time. That stress and the immune system are linked. Chronic stress can be a precursor to illness.

Our emotions, the way we cope with stress and how we ‘feel’ does have an effect on the physiological condition of the body.

I am all for medical developments and the use of stress pathway blocking drugs could mean exciting progress in the treatment of cancer. I also feel that this study will help to open up the discussion about the link between stress, emotional trauma and cancer.

We know that it’s possible to block this hormone related stress pathway with drugs but can we do so with the mind alone? This is an exciting prospect that can change the way we treat this disease.

Imagine a treatment facility that fully integrates mind medicine with conventional medicine, and I mean more than just the common “Relaxotherapy” offered today.

This kind of integration where patients are cared for by a team of practitioner is sure to benefit the patient. It remains to be seen when this kind of care will be offered, my belief is that it’s only a matter of time.

In the meantime many coping with cancer are already taking responsibility for their well being by working with their own private practitioners.

If you integrate your conventional treatment with other complimentary or alternative treatments please share?

overcome the negativity of cancer

Learn How to Avoid the Trap of Negativity When Recovering from Cancer

You may have heard the saying that holding a grudge hurts the grudge holder more than it hurts the recipient. It’s like holding hot coals with the intention to throw them at someone else, only to suffer the burn ourselves. While it’s easy to agree with the logic of this statement it’s not so easy to implement it when someone has done us wrong.

Boston cancer brookline cancerAnger and resentment are emotions that, when bottled up, turn toxic and affect every aspect of our lives i.e. mental, emotional and physical. Holding a grudge and silently seething on the inside is a taxing process on our psyche and biology and we end up paying the bill.

In previous blog posts we talked about the power of the mind to influence the body, for better or worse, for health or sickness. In that context, the aggravated state of mind of holding a grudge is especially unnecessary and will only leave us run down and drained.

The first step toward forgiveness is acknowledging that we do most of the suffering. Once we realize this truth we can finally free ourselves from the chains of negativity and exchange despair with hope. Now we can create the life we want and deserve, life that is free from the physical, mental, and emotional side effects of anger and resentment.

Recognizing that we are the one who benefit from forgiving others will make it easier to let go and release the toxic anger and resentment we shackled ourselves to.

When you are ready to move toward forgiveness, take the following steps:

1. Look at the situation from all angles, see the big picture. Imagine that a friend of yours was there with you; would he or she come to the same conclusion about the meaning of that moment?

2. Consider your role in this a situation, which thoughts or actions contributed to this event. Avoid the mind trap of self blame; just consider how your actions may have contributed.

3. Find the good in this unfortunate situation; focus on solutions for they are inherently positive and resolve to understand the some of the limitations which lead the other person to act out.

Not only will this process help you to release the toxic emotions that have built up inside, it will also help you to grow as a person.

Forgiveness, first and foremost is a decision to live free of negativity. In truth, you only forgive yourself; it could be for perceiving things in a certain way or not standing up for you, etc.

Recognizing your role in the situation you may be able to stop yourself from repeating this pattern of behavior in the future. With this insight in place, the only question remains is: Do you want to be happy or right?

If you need further assistance in how to forgive, please contact me. There is so much to gain and nothing real to lose.


toxic emotions and illness

Must Read – Your Health is At Stake!

Emotions run the whole spectrum – from love to fear, shame to pride, joy to desperation and everything else in between. Of course some emotions are less pleasurable to experience than others and yet every single one of your emotions has a value, a meaning and a purpose. All emotions are good.

healing brookline

The Mind and Body are an Integrated System

We are all familiar with the five external senses sight, sound, touch, taste and smell; their input let us interpret and understand the outside world. In much the same way, emotions should be viewed as our inner set of senses. They help to guide us so we can better manage and care for ourselves – help us maintain our integrity as creative beings so we can get the most out of our lives.

If we can express our emotions appropriately and learn methods for letting go of intense feelings, then our emotions will not pose any threat to us – they will simply flow as a part of our own unique experience of life. Emotions only become a problem to us if they become toxic and toxic emotions only occur when we reject, suppress or judge them.

Keeping emotions burrowed deep down inside leads to feelings of guilt, shame and resentment. These powerful emotions can have a detrimental affect on the body over time if they are not expressed in a way that is healthy.

Think about it – if you feel resentment towards someone it doesn’t feel good inside. The same goes for when you feel ashamed, guilty, hopeless or afraid. These feelings and associated thoughts are the seeds planted in the fertile soil of the subconscious mind and illness or a state of disease is their blossom. To ensure we maintain a state of health rather than illness we must address these seeds and that is what hypnosis for cancer and chronic illness is designed to do.

Failing to address these seeds, these mind sets affect the experience within the body – after all the mind and body are an integrated system. The brain adjusts its production of chemicals to correlate these negative states and then disperse them into the bloodstream.

What Research Says?

For example there is a great deal of research to be found about the link between the production of the hormone cortisol and prolonged stress. Higher levels than normal of cortisol in the body are linked to high blood pressure, lowered immunity and a susceptibility to increased abdominal fat. Increased abdominal fat in turn can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Suppressing our emotions literally makes them become toxic and this in turn affects our well being. Chemicals released by the brain are absorbed by the body’s cells and become poor quality building blocks for our bodies. Emotions therefore need an appropriate outlet.

When we suppress emotions we make the choice, intentionally or not, to do so. We are choosing to believe that our beliefs and opinions don’t matter and are not as worthy of recognition as those of others. This can endanger our health. You are worthy of happiness, comfort and good health. Your opinions, concerns and needs are valid and deserve to be expressed.

If your health depend on finding an appropriate way to express your emotions and acknowledging your self worth, will you do so?