Recurrence related to stress, immunity?


Question from Bio Pat: What are your feelings about the correlation between stress and immunity on the risk of recurrence?
Answers - Patricia A. Ganz, M.D. This is a tough question, because we all have stress in our lives, and we don't always have evidence that stress leads to an increase of cancer or recurrence. However, in some individuals, there may be changes in the immune system associated with stress, and this indirectly might lead to an increased risk of cancer. These issues are hard to study scientifically. But, if we can find a relationship between stress, immunity, and cancer, we might have interventions. At this time, the evidence is uncertain, and we don't want to blame individuals for putting themselves at risk for cancer because of the stress that they might be experiencing.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Until we have better answers on the connection between stress and risk of cancer, I think we can all agree that stress can really make you feel lousy. It is not good for anybody, and, most likely, it certainly is not good for your health. On the other hand, leading an active life that is full of things that you enjoy doing, activities that bring meaning into your life, are quite healthy. If your life is full of these things, then you may lead a demanding life. This is probably healthy for you. Try to convert some of the stresses to enjoyable demands.

On Wednesday, October 17, 2001, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Quality of LifePatricia A. Ganz, M.D.,Marisa Weiss, M.D., answered your questions about how breast cancer can affect physical, emotional, social, and sexual aspects of your life.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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