6 Things You Need to Know About Stress and Cancer
We asked and you told us. There are so many factors that contribute to a cancer diagnosis, but an overwhelming amount of people in our community agree: stress has contributed to their diagnoses.
In a recent survey we conducted, 54% of respondents said that stress has contributed to their cancer diagnosis. 28% said it did not, and 18% were not sure. (Scroll down or click here to view the rest of the data.)
As soon as we saw that more than half of the participants answered “Yes,” we knew there was more to be uncovered. Your honest responses showed us that this is a conversation that needs to be had so we hosted the first-ever #StressAndCancer tweetchat. The conversation was awesome and confirmed the need for this discussion. It was verification that stress plays a big role in the cancer journey, not only before the diagnosis, but especially during and after.
We know not everyone is on twitter or able to participate, so we compiled some of the top moments into this blog post, along with some resources to help manage stress. Our hope is that we can continue these conversations, and figure out how to handle stress, together.
1. Everyone has a different story of how stress did (or did not) contribute to their cancer diagnoses.
@ihadcancer I don't think it contributed to my initial diagnosis, but I often worry it may be a factor for recurrence.— brittneymemphis (@brittneymemphis) April 26, 2017
A1 For me, cancer was thought to be related to immunosuppression, but stress management played a big role in my recovery #stressandcancer— Jessica Melore (@jessicamelore) April 26, 2017
2. Work is a huge cause of stress, but there are ways to keep it under control.
Q3: I think setting expectations is a big thing-if you have a particular chemo schedule, organizing your work ahead of time #stressandcancer— Jessica Melore (@jessicamelore) April 26, 2017
3. Stress has a real impact on families and relationships.
@ihadcancer At one point I had to have a family member make all the calls because booking appointments was too stressful for me.— Danielle Nicosia (@ThycaSurvivor09) April 26, 2017
A4. Yes. It impacted household finances, child care & daily routine. All of which affected relationships & family. #stressandcancer— Tinu Abayomi-Paul (@Tinu) April 26, 2017
4. After you're diagnosed, stress levels, not to mention what stress looks like, are different.
5. Even when treatment ends, stress doesn't.
@ihadcancer After treatment and surviving, some stress went away. Recurrence is always on my mind. I'm reminded every day when I take my medication.— brittneymemphis(@brittneymemphis) April 26, 2017
A8 When life "normalized" I got out of my 'fight/flight" mode & stressed about things i didn't think about before #stressandcancer— Jessica Melore (@jessicamelore) April 26, 2017
6. There are things within your control that can help relieve stress.
@ihadcancer Music, writing and connecting with others that get it help me cope. Especially volunteering my time to those that are newly diagnosed.— Danielle Nicosia (@ThycaSurvivor09) April 26, 2017
Q9 And finding those people who understand or who listen and aren't dismissive. They are few but they are wonderful humans. #stressandcancer— writer sam (@writersamr) April 26, 2017
Let's keep the conversation going- because stress is a monster that feeds on stress. It can build and build and build, so if you are dealing with stress and cancer, talk about it and be honest. Remember: you are NOT alone.
Click the image below to enlarge the infographic:
How has stress played a role in your cancer experience?