Stress and Breast Cancer: No Link, But Still Incorporate Stress Reduction Techniques

Medical scientist and researchers have been able to identify specific risk factors linked to breast cancer. The risk factors that are non-modifiable (hereditary in nature) are linked to genetics. The others fall into the modifiable category (diet, exercise, obesity, smoking, alcoholic intake). However, we know little about the link between psychological stress and the link to breast cancer. The validity of stress being linked to breast cancer has not been well established, although it has been extensively studied. 50% of breast cancer are attributed to genetic, physiologic, or behavioral risk factors, genetics only accounting for 5 to 10%. The physiological and behavioral risk factors established include having a first-degree relative with breast cancer, early menarche, late menopause, nulliparity or bearing of first child at a later age, overweight after menopause, certain types of benign breast diseases, alcohol consumption, and long-term use of menopausal estrogen replacement therapy (Antonova, Aronson, and Mueller (2011).

Stress on the other hand has not been found to be linked with breast cancer despite claims that it may play a role. A more recent study published in the Breast Cancer Research (2016) journal also found that psychological stress is not linked to breast cancer etiology. The researchers that conducted the study identified that women who reported frequent or continuous stress had about the same risk of breast cancer as women who reported occasional or no stress. Breast cancer risk also wasn’t linked to experiencing a very difficult life event during the previous 5 year according to the study. Stress reduction techniques can reduce and ease pain for a variety of illnesses including breast cancer. Learn how to thus t incorporate ways to encourage stress reduction through mind, body, and spirit connections. Learning how to manage the triggers on a day-to-day basis is key to healthy living. Start with putting in place an action plan to lower stress through the following:

1. Allow your mind explore fun things you love to do that make you laugh. (Humor is medicine).

2. Find time for reflection, locate a place of quietness to wind down the inner spirit after a hectic day.

3. Stop and smell the flowers, enjoy a sunset, and take time to enjoy something about life daily.

4. Exercise to wind down after a busy day (Yoga, Pilates, Walking, Swim Class) are perfect to relieve stress in the body.

5. Eliminate individuals that are negative and present barriers to your wellness.

6. Eat healthier food choices to reduce stress and breast cancer risk. You can start by making one healthy dish a week to get you moving in the right direction.

7. Adopt a hobby that takes your mind off of negative situations (painting, sculpturing, cooking, writing, gardening, counseling, mentoring, music, language class etc.).

8. Stop doing things for everyone first, consider your pivotal need to be healthy and make you a priority.

In 2019, it has been estimated that 271,270 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and 2,670 cases diagnosed in men. Incidence rates in the United State have surely declined at 84.9 cases per standardized rate per 100,000. However, the westernized dietary culture has still been a major contributed to the prevalence of the disease in the United States, and also in the European countries. Stress reduction techniques will be vital as we experience life's ups and down. So, take a deep breath and make a positive affirmation that you will reduce stressors.

As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to end still consider making a donation to promote solidarity in walking for the cause. My personal page is open at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/walk to support the 3.8 million survivors in the United States. A total of 329,918, 382 persons live in the US it never stops one birth occurs every 8 seconds let move to a world free of breast cancer.

God Bless, Michele

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