The link between stress & Cancer spread

Arresting new research released this week suggests that stress helps to speed the spread of cancer through the body. Scientists believe that stress transforms the lymphatic system into a ‘superhighway’, which carries cancer cells rapidly around the body.

Researchers at Monash University in Australia studied how stress drives cancer metastasis in mice (where cancer spreads from the original tumour to other areas of the body).

They discovered that stress sent a signal into the cancer that allowed tumour cells to escape and spread. They found six times more spread of cancer in stressed mice compared to control mice.

The researchers added that chronic stress can be extremely detrimental to cancer patients, particularly as it may prevent treatment from working properly.

The conclusion is that blocking stress in cancer patients could help to improve their outcome. The doctors spearheading the study suggest that heart medication such as beta blockers could be key in preventing stress from increasing the spread of cancer. This is because beta blockers compete with adrenalin to limit heart rate and blood pressure increase.

Beta blockers are the pharmaceutical solution to slowing your heart rate – but this is something you can also achieve through deep abdominal breathing.

Done slowly and mindfully, deep breathing will affect the nervous system to relieve stress and anxiety. Specifically, deep breathing calms your fight or flight response and slows your heart rate. It works by triggering the release of neurohormones, which inhibit stress-producing hormones and result in a relaxation response in the body.

We’ve founded our Rescue Breath on precisely this basis. It’s so important to deal with stress as it happens in order to stop it getting a foothold in your body. Daily mindful breathing and a minute of shaking, drumming and twisting (our Reset Ritual) will go a long way towards managing your stress levels and limiting the amount of damage it can effect.

Please note, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your medical practitioner.