Healthy Living

Stress Can Suppress Lymphoma Treatment

Stress Can Suppress Lymphoma Treatment

Stress: Everyone deals with it to some degree, and it can be damaging to daily life. But what if stress could limit the effectiveness of cancer treatments? Recent research has shown that stress suppresses the response to cancer treatments in patients. With cancer patients having a lot to be stressed out about, this has huge implications for treatment effectiveness.

This gives healthcare professionals an opportunity to work on every aspect of stress management—from prevention to treatment.

Effects of stress on overall physical and mental health

Stress is prevalent in all of our lives, and it is futile to pretend that it is not. A better course of action towards tackling the problems that stress causes is to better understand it, how it affects our bodies and lives, and how we can prevent it and deal with it once it is here. A relatively low amount of stress is normal, and our bodies know how to cope with that. When stress becomes excessive, that’s when it becomes dangerous.

The Mayo Clinic has great information on how stress affects our bodies and behavior. Frequently we may have symptoms or illnesses that we think are caused by one thing, but that are in fact caused by stress. Common problems that people face such as headaches, insomnia, or decreased productivity may be related to stress. While these can be annoying, they can also have a huge impact on an individual’s life. Stress can affect not just your physical body, but also your thoughts and feelings. If left untreated it can lead to more complex problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Being able to recognize the signs of stress is key in preventing it and managing it.

Stress can be difficult to recognize because so many of its symptoms could also be related to other common health issues. Some of the physical effects that stress has on the body include headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain (always get chest pain evaluated!), fatigue, a change in sex drive, stomach discomfort, and sleep issues. We all have a tendency to ignore these things and continue on with our daily lives. However, if they are persistent, identifying the root cause can help prevent more complications later on. Stress also has negative effects on your mood. Just like the physical symptoms, these could also be cause by other conditions, so proper evaluation is key. Some common effects of stress on your mood include anxiety, restlessness, decreased motivation or focus, being overwhelmed, irritability or anger, and excessive sadness or depression. As if this isn’t enough, stress can also go on to affect your behavior, which can thus affect all other aspects of your life. Common ways in which stress effects behavior include over or under eating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, withdrawal from social situations, and a decrease in physical activity.

Read on to learn more about stress's impact on lymphoma treatment.