Scientists claim stress can trigger cancer

Candy Bellinger

A new study has revealed that our everyday emotional stress could act as a trigger for some cancers. Scientists at Yale University discovered that trauma of any sort, whether emotional or physical, can create a "pathway" between cancerous mutations, triggering the growth of tumours.

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Published in Nature, the study suggests that our everyday emotional stress from work and family could create the conditions that cause cancers to develop. Previously scientists believed that more than one mutation needed to take place within a single cell in order for a tumour to grow. But, through experiments with fruit flies, the researchers found that even mutations in different cells could come together to create the deadly mix – and it was stress that somehow opened up the "pathway" between the two cells.

Professor Tian Xu, a geneticist who led the study, said: "A lot of different conditions can trigger stress signalling – physical stress, emotional stress, infections, inflammation – all these things. Reducing stress or avoiding stress conditions is always good advice. The bad news is that it is much easier for a tissue to accumulate mutations in different cells than in the same cell."

Since our modern lives are busier than ever and more and more research reveals just how badly stress can affect our health, perhaps it is time we took things more slowly.

But how? If you have any suggestions as to how to de-stress daily life, let us know.