• Does Stress Cause Cancer

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    Stress has become a big part of our generation’s day-to-day life. While some level of stress is quite normal in our lives, prolonged stress can have an adverse impact on one’s life. Stress can be a result of various factors like trauma, work pressure, overwhelming responsibilities, etc. It is common for people to experience stress from time to time. However, chronic stress can lead to various health disorders like depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal disorders, heart diseases, diabetes, ulcer, obesity, etc.

    While it is evident that stress can lead to various health issues, there is no direct relation between stress and cancer. However, various unhealthy coping mechanisms that people follow as a result of stress may increase the risk of cancer. Let’s discuss the impact of psychological stress in detail to understand how it is related to cancer.

    What is mental stress?

    Stress is the body’s natural reaction to protect itself from various unexpected threats and challenges. When faced with an adverse situation, the body jumps into a high-stress mode with elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and hormone levels. This automated response makes the body ready to deal with a particular challenge. From the psychological point of view, some level of stress is necessary to deal with the day-to day-attributes of life. However, when the worst form of stress happens repeatedly, it is likely to have an adverse effect on one’s health.

    Stress can be classified into acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress refers to the temporary stress you may experience against minor challenges you face in life. For instance, giving a public speech could be stressful for most people but it is not likely to have an impact on one’s health. On the other hand, chronic stress refers to the prolonged level of stress faced by some individuals. This kind of stress prevents a person from leading a normal life by resulting in various health hazards. In addition to physical health issues, chronic stress may also affect a person’s mental health by leading to anxiety, depression, and psychological distress.

    Ways to deal with psychological stress

    When faced with extreme stress, many people turn to various unhealthy ways of dealing with stress. In most cases, excessive drinking, smoking, overeating, and drug abuse is a direct result of psychological stress. These unhealthy behaviours further lead to various additional health issues. Hence, it is necessary to find a way to effectively deal with stress. The following steps can help you reduce stress and lead a healthy life:

    • Identify the cause of stress: If you are feeling unhappy, fatigued, and irritable for a long period of time without any particular reason, you need to study the underlying causes of these symptoms. Examine your state of mind and identify the triggers that affect your mood.
    • Realise that inconveniences are part of life: Some people get stressed for problems that are completely out of their control. Even minor inconveniences may result in acute stress for these people. It is important to realise that these minor inconveniences are part of one’s everyday life. People who have a strong mind accept this reality and refuse to accept these minor issues get in the way of their lives.
    • Take care of your physical health: Physical and mental health often go hand in hand. Following healthy habits will ensure that your body operates smoothly and functions well against various challenges. Make sure that you eat healthy, get adequate sleep, and exercise regularly. When you are in good physical health, you will feel confident to overcome any kind of mental stress.
    • Engage in strong social relationships: When you are feeling distressed, your friends and family members can be a pillar of support to help overcome adversities. If you are feeling depressed, reach out to your close friends and family members. In addition to bringing a fresh perspective to your issues, they will also provide practical support and guidance on how you can overcome these issues.
    • Maintain proper work-life balance: This is one of the most basic steps to maintain proper mental health. Sometimes people get extremely stressed with their jobs, and this gets spilled over to their personal lives. While focusing on one’s professional life is very important, this should not come at the cost of one’s social life. Mentally strong people know how to strike a balance between their professional and personal lives.
    • Get professional help: If none of the other steps have worked for you, it is time to seek the help of a mental health professional. If you are exhibiting symptoms of depression or stress for a long time, you must consult with a qualified mental health professional and get his/her advice. These professionals can identify the root cause of the issue and help you overcome the problem through practical ways.

    Stress and cancer

    As noted earlier, mental stress has no direct relation to cancer. However, it may result in unhealthy coping habits that increase the risk of cancer. For instance, a person taking up smoking to deal with stress has a high risk of getting oral or lung cancer. The same applies to other unhealthy habits. Moreover, stress compromises the immune system of the body and makes it vulnerable to various diseases. Hence, it is worth noting that stress may lead to cancer even though there is no direct relation between the two.

    Conclusion

    Last year, a new act has been passed in the constitution to include mental illness coverage in health insurance. Following this act, the insurance regulator has made it mandatory for health insurance policies to provide coverage for mental health issues. With proper health and life insurance covers, you can protect yourself against various unexpected adversities. If cancer is something that you are worried about, you may get a cancer insurance policy for an affordable price and get yourself protected. Apart from all of this, it is necessary for an individual to maintain proper mental health by following the tips listed above.

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