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Cancer is stressful for everyone involved. In addition to everyday stressors, people affected by cancer often experience the shock of a diagnosis, the challenges of treatment, and continued worry about a recurrence. All the other changes cancer brings to relationships, family, work, and finances only add to an already stressful situation.
Stress can affect us on many levels: physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral. Although each of us experiences stress differently, the following are some common stress-related symptoms:
Scientists continue to explore the relationship between stress and health. We know that some short-term stress can be beneficial, such as when it motivates us to accomplish tasks. Yet, chronic stress, research suggests, can weaken the immune system.
The immune system is the body's defense system against diseases. When it becomes compromised, the body is less able to defend or repair itself. It makes sense then, for people who already have cancer, to keep their immune system as strong as possible and find ways to reduce stress.
The first step to managing stress is understanding it. Stress arises from our response to an event, not from the event itself. Even if we can’t control certain things that happen to us, we can control how much we let them stress us. By learning ways to effectively manage stress during cancer treatment, you can feel more relaxed, clear-headed, and energized in spite of stressful circumstances.
NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER REGARDING MANAGING STRESS DURING CANCER CARE.
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