Celebrities, Stress and Cancer

Celebrities, Stress and Cancer

Recently, several websites have reported that Michael Douglas has been diagnosed with throat cancer.

The actor believes a combination of his previous hard-driving lifestyle and the stresses of the past 12 months may have caused the cancer.

He tells UK’s Daily Mirror that stress was a major factor: “This type of cancer can be brought on by alcohol and tobacco abuse and by a certain type of sexually transmitted reason, but I look at it as stress.

I”ve had a pretty stressful year on a number of fronts, some of which were public and some of which weren”t.” Douglas is not the first celebrity (see below), who considers stress to be a factor in their cancer development.

Don Imus, stress and prostate cancer

Can stress contribute to cancer? Is Stress a risk factor for cancer? According to abcnews.com Radio host Don Imus wondered aloud whether stress had contributed to his prostate cancer. The 68-year-old Imus made the announcement about his prostate cancer diagnosis in March 2009 on his morning show.  “I think it was all the stress that caused this,” he reportedly said on air.

Based on this report, however, Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society believes that there are no studies that show that stress is the sole cause of cancer, but stress can interfere with a person”s ability to deal with cancer.

However, there is some evidence to suggest that stress—in combination with other factors—may contribute to the development of cancer. In an exchange with U.S. News that preceded Imus”s diagnosis, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, wrote that chronic depression and/or a paucity of supportive personal relationships may be risk factors for the development and progression of some kinds of cancer.

She referred to a study of ovarian cancer patients that suggested that stress and low social support may be related to certain growth factors in the tumor microenvironment. Kiecolt-Glaser also cited new studies from Eric Yang and Ron Glaser and others, showing that melanoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and multiple myeloma tumor cells have receptors for the stress hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine, and that cancer cells exposed to these stress hormones in the laboratory produce tumorigenic factors.

Kylie Minogue, stress and breast cancer

According to recent news article in celebritydiagnosis.com the renowned Australian pop singer, songwriter and actress, Kylie Minogue, believes that it could have been stress that made her sick five years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Per the Editors’ note, Drs. Berman and Boguski, the publicity surrounding the case of Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer in 2005 and its effect on public health awareness stimulated a 20-fold increase in news coverage of breast cancer and the fact that early detection was critical. This encouraged more women to seek prevention and screening advice.

Intense stress has been mentioned as a factor that can lead to the development of cancer. The hypothesis that stress can contribute to the pathogenesis of breast cancer is not new, and in fact was initially brought forward nearly 2,000 years ago by ancient Greek doctor Galen. The link between stress and breast cancer, however remains controversial, and according to a recent article in dailymail.co.uk some organizations such as Cancer Research UK are skeptical.

However, in a recent study by Israeli scientists, cited in this article, women who had experienced two or more significantly stressful life events were 62 per cent more likely to have breast cancer. ”Even moderate or mild events seem to have a cumulative effect,” says the lead researcher, Dr. Ronit Peled of Ben-Gurion University, in the journal BMC Cancer.

Furthermore, a recent study published in the Cancer Research journal suggested that a prolonged state of stress could facilitate the spread of metastatic breast cancer (see comments on torontosun.com). The UCLA authors transplanted breast tumors into animals which then underwent stress-induced neuroendocrine activation, resulting in a 30-fold increase in metastasis to distant tissues. These effects were mediated by beta-adrenergic signaling and treatment of stressed animals with the beta-antagonist propranolol reversed the stress-induced macrophage infiltration and inhibited tumor spread to distant tissues.

ABC News Read more

U.S. News Read more

Dailymail Read more

Source: Cover Image: Don Imus. Credit: huffingtonpost.com

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