Like probably many of my readers, I have been following the story of Lydia Sherman's friend who was diagnosed with cancer. In the update on her blog, Lydia has recently published the lady's letter, where she said, among other things:
take your vitamins and eat a healthy diet but more than that just live
life and enjoy it. I believe that joy will keep cancer away just as
well as anything else.
(You can read the full letter over here).
That actually made me think, is there really a link between cancer and unhappiness? I did a small research and found an article which states that there is definitely a link between the two. For instance, it quotes a scientist who says the following:
it takes from 5
to 40 years for a cellular anomaly to become a detectable tumor. A
healthy gene can become abnormal via radiation, environmental toxins,
and other carcinogens, such as the benzopyrene from cigarette smoke...no psychological factor by itself has ever been identified as being capable of creating the cancer seed...but...that certain reactions to psychological stress can profoundly influence the soil in which the seed develops...
The article goes on to state that a cancer patient shouldn't be blaming himself for getting a disease but implies that there exists something like "cancer-prone personality". It also describes an interesting experiment where rats were implanted with cancer cells and divided into groups, and the group which was given an opportunity to control their circumstances, had higher survival rates. You can read the whole of it here.
Official research hasn't been able to establish any clear links between one's stress levels and cancer, so stress on its own is probably not something to worry about, it's more how we deal with it. Anyway, that's something to ponder...