It has always been assumed that stress affects cancer because of its influence on the immune system. This is partly true. What most people don’t recognize is that stress contributes to, diabetes and visceral obesity both of which significantly contribute to cancer. Anyone with diabetes can tell you that when they get stressed out their blood sugar goes up. And what does cancer like best? – sugar.
How can we mitigate stress? It is called ‘enriched environment’. A study was done in which animals with either colon cancer or melanoma were divided into two groups. One group was allowed to socialize in groups, given toys to play with, and opportunity to exercise. While the animals in the other group were housed individually. What they found was that the ‘enriched environment’ group had growth of their colon and melanoma reduced by 80% compared to the other group.
Insomnia is another contributing factor in cancer. When one’s sleep cycle is off they are more prone to obesity and diabetes. Shift workers have been shown to be more susceptible to various cancers including breast, colon, endometrial cancer, and melanoma.
What I find interesting is that only 5% of cancer survivors follow the American Cancer Society guideline for diet, exercise, and lifestyle guidelines. But 85-98% take chemotherapy. Oncologists need to be more proactive in counseling their patients on proper diet, exercise and stress reduction.