Did you know that negative emotions such as stress increase cancer risk substantially? A study published several years ago found that women who experienced a significant, negative life event had an increased risk of developing breast cancer. The breast cancer risk was even greater in women who experienced a severely striking life event. Other studies have shown similar findings regarding stress and cancer risk.

Jonathan Stegall, MD

Jonathan Stegall, MD

We know that stress sets off a cascade of events inside the body involving various hormones and neurotransmitters which affect the health of the body’s cells. Our current understanding is that significant stress, especially over the long term, causes significant damage and dysfunction in the body which can result in cancer. It turns out that the mind isn’t a separate entity from the body, but rather, in close communication with the body at all times, with tremendous power over how the body functions!

The good news is that there are many strategies we can adopt in order to reduce our stress and anxiety. I highly recommend a regular daily practice of prayer and meditation. Exercise, being outside in nature, breathing techniques, and engaging in healthy relationships with others are also proven stress-lowering strategies.

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