Stress Reduction May Lower Cancer Recurrence Rates


The facts are in on stress reduction, and many doctors still are not taking advantage of the benefits.

I can remember the first time the study came across my desk about stress and reduction in recurrence for women with breast cancer.

It was around 2008 that the first study came out from the University of Ohio and Barbara Andersen, who has since then continued the clinic on psycho-immunology at the university and provided training in stress reduction. I truly expected to see blaring headlines the next day in The New York Times. “Stress reduction lowers recurrence rate for women with breast cancer.”

But nothing, nada. Nary a headline in the popular press. I am sure the cancer journals picked it up, but their distribution may not be as a large as some of the other bigger newspapers. What about our daily papers where people could read about the aspects of stress reduction that they could do at home to help the body boost the immune system?

I really couldn’t believe it. If there were a pill that reduced recurrence rate, everyone would know. Instead, the medical community wanted more data and then more data. The figures came back different but they all showed that stress impacted the immune system and stress reduction programs that combined meditation and exercise and other forms of stress reduction actually worked.

So why didn’t patients get that information — a simple handout would have helped us set up personal programs and it may be virtually cost-free.

Then I noticed other science based complementary therapies coming across my desk. I called the researchers. They were as baffled by the lack of press as I was.

I called the doctors. They said they wanted more research and many were unsure of where to send their patients for complementary therapy.

Here is a fact: stress reduction can impact recurrence. It brings the numbers down. More doctors should be aware of this and take the time to find complementary therapies to possibly help improve the outcomes of their patients.

Take the time to educate your doc. Do it for yourself.

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Dr. Kelly Stratton
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