Despite the methodological problems of this type of research, it seems increasingly clear that the emotional state of people can have repercussions on the development of the disease.
Certain behavior patterns are sometimes associated with both the onset and development of diseases. In this sense, there are already several findings that relate certain psychological variables with cancer.
Despite the methodological problems in this type of research, the evidence increases. In other words, more and more results highlight the influence of emotions and behaviors on the manifestation of various pathologies.
Let’s take a closer look below.
Some personality, lifestyle, or even mood traits of the individual seem to play a significant role. These aspects play their role by connecting different psychological variables with conditions such as cancer. But what is the link between such factors?
Lifestyle is one of the first circumstances to consider. In fact, environmental variables are often responsible for various health problems.
Habits such as smoking, an unbalanced diet or living a sedentary life are customs that oncologists warn about. For this reason, the so-called ‘ European Decalogue against cancer ‘ offers a series of recommendations.
Among the keys to decrease the incidence of the disease are:
- Avoid tobacco, high alcohol consumption and excessive exposure to the sun.
- Maintain safety regulations when handling potentially carcinogenic substances.
- Include fruits and vegetables constantly in the diet.
- Prevent overweight.
Therefore, the best preventive strategy is to reduce some of the most common risk factors. That is, it is about replacing certain daily practices with more favorable ones.
When talking about the link between psychological variables and cancer, it is found that stress has been one of the most studied conditions.
In this way, the close relationship between the central nervous system and the body’s immune response has been confirmed. The emotional state induces variations in the levels of certain neurotransmitters. And such changes can indirectly affect the development of the disease.
In this sense, a study led by a group of scientists from Dalian University (China) draws interesting conclusions. Thus, these authors find that chronic stress causes an increase in the release of adrenaline (hormone). This increase in turn promotes metabolic alterations associated with the presence of tumor cells.
Furthermore, the modulating effect of psychological distress is also observed at the behavioral level. This is the case of harmful habits such as taking drugs or smoking and drinking excessively. These practices sometimes represent forms of coping based on the avoidance of problems.
At the same time, these behaviors prevent proper stress management, which, when not managed, also ends up affecting the health of the individual.
In turn, several works point out the complex interactions that depressive disorders maintain with various physical pathologies such as cancer.
Along these lines, a recent article by Dr. Daniel C. McFarland et al. Would serve as an example. This research explores the role of early adversity in cancer patients. The result is that such experiences predispose towards the expression of certain psychological symptoms.
These data are particularly relevant to what the prognosis of the disease will be. That is, the low state of mind in people with cancer makes them less involved in their treatment.
This attitude influences the probability of abandonment or worse adherence to medical advice, which further highlights the importance of emotional well-being in these cases.
Keys to the nexus ‘psychological variables and cancer’
As we see, some behaviors and emotions are associated to some extent with health problems such as cancer.
Given these findings, prevention is presented as one of the fundamental strategies.
Furthermore, at the treatment level, comprehensive care for the individual also seems to be a basic piece.
Remember that taking care of your own psychological balance often implies achieving a better quality of life.