Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Unhappiness And Cancer

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:

Yes 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 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...


  1. Hello Sanne'
    I read with great interest this recent posting, because in several days I will undergo a very big abdominal operation to confirm (remove) what is expected to be cancer.
    Prior to reading about Lydia's friend and your article, I have been contemplating what may have caused this in myself. I reached the conclusion that when one is prone to great worry and taken on much stress over too long (twenty years) in this instance, I do believe in my heart it has contributed to this illness.
    I can say that my life has changed very much in the last six weeks since this situation. Truthfully, it makes you think about what you have wasted time worrying about, your real priorities, and how important one's faith is- not only this, but my actual "relationship" with The Lord.
    I don't know for certain that this is what has created this in me, but I certainly believe there is a link between our physical bodies and what is going on in our minds.


  2. Christine,
    I'm awfully sorry! I hope the operation will go well and that maybe, there is still a chance it's not malignant. I've lost family and friends to cancer. It's a horrible disease. Unfortunately, we don't know for sure what causes it, only general contributing factors. I think, stress just makes things worse, but it can't cause it on its own. Stress can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, depression and other unpleasant things though. Not when we aye younger because our bodies are still resilient, but as we get older that's why it's so important to learn how to deal with it.

  3. Thank you, Sanne'
    I hope so too :-)