Everyone has experienced stress-induced headaches, neck pain or digestive upsets at one time or another. Nothing serious, right? Well, new research suggests that psychological stress may actually increase the risk for cancer.

Stress and Colorectal Cancer

In one study, researchers found that people who reported they had suffered from workplace problems over a 10-year period had more than five times the risk of colorectal cancer as those who reported no workplace problems, even when diet and other risk factors were the same.

Stress and Cell Damage

Animal studies show that rats subjected to stress undergo DNA changes in the cells of their livers that if unchecked could lead to cancer-causing mutations. other studies show that stressed animals are more susceptible to cancer-causing substances in the environment.

A Weakened Immune System

Stress is thought to weaken the immune system. A strong immune system is needed to destroy damaged cells that could lead to cancer.

Coping With Stress

Stress is a part of everyone’s life. Deadlines at work, traffic jams, family conflict, the death of a loved one, even positive changes such as a new job or a marriage are all forms of stress. A little stress is actually a good thing, providing the challenge that makes life worth living. But too much stress can harm you mentally and physically. If you suffer from stress, you can do something about it. Get into a stress management program that will teach you simple stress-reducing exercises and lifestyle changes that could save your life.

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