An analysis by researcher Karen Ross in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute describes the relationship between psychological stress and cancer progression at the biochemical and molecular levels.
The focus of many of these studies is basic biology—the experience of stress and changes in gene expression that may be associated with tumor progression.
Currently, there is no good evidence that stress causes cancer, said Steven Cole , Ph.D., a cancer biologist at the University of California–Los Angeles School of Medicine and one of Lutgendorf’s collaborators. “Where the evidence is stronger is for disease progression,” Cole said.
In a study conducted by Barbara Andersen, Ph.D., [a member of our Anticancer Advisory Board] and colleagues at Ohio State University in Columbus, a group of patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer participated in a program in which they learned techniques for reducing stress and for increasing cancer treatment adherence. They also discussed ways to improve physical health through diet, exercise, and quitting smoking. Compared with a control group, the treated patients were less distressed, had fewer side effects from chemotherapy, and had better general health 1 year later. The ongoing study will also evaluate the effect of the intervention on cancer recurrence and survival.