Researchers Reveal Why Stress Therapy is Crucial to Cancer Treatment

By Lisa Franchi on September 05, 2017

Stress management is a critical part in cancer treatment, according to researchers from University of Brighton. That is because high levels of the stress hormone significantly lower the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs.

People diagnosed with cancer go through a very stressful moment, from the day they found out about their condition throughout the treatment period, and sometimes, even during recovery. Unfortunately, stress hormones can prevent the cancerous cells in the body from dividing and reacting during treatment. While it may sound like a good effect, scientists say it is not. In reality, the hormones shield the growing tumours from being treated by the cancer drugs that are administered in the patient’s body.

According to the researchers, stress reduction therapy is necessary in treating people with cancer to help promote the success of the drugs and treatment methods.

“A diagnosis of breast cancer is a cause of a great deal of stress, which in itself is a significant reason for stress management to be considered early on,” said Dr Melanie Flint, lead researcher of the study.

Their research suggests that stress reduces the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drug and could impair other cancer treatments.

“We know reducing stress improves psychological well-being, but our findings give us the idea that this elevation in stress hormones, or perhaps changes in receptors that stress hormones bind to, may affect patients’ responses to chemotherapies,” she noted.

In their study, Dr Flint and her team found that breast cancer cells exposed to stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine generate destructive DNA-damaging molecules called free radicals. This causes the cancer cells to temporarily halt their relentless cell division as DNA repair mechanisms kick in. And while halting cancer cell division may sound like good news, it actually shields the tumours from the lethal effects of the chemotherapy drug.

What I would like to see is that every patient diagnosed with cancer has their stress recognized and their options talked through, and an offer of stress reduction,” Dr Flint said.  Her colleague, Dr Val Jenkins, from the University of Sussex, added “Combining the expertise of laboratory-based scientists with that of psycho-oncologists in an innovative area of research is likely to produce tangible benefits for patients receiving cancer treatments.”

Source of this article:

Stress treatment is crucial to cancer treatment because the hormone BLOCKS the drugs from battling the tumour

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