Do trauma and stress cause cancer? The doctor weighs in

Anyone who has readThe body keeps scoreby Bessel van der Kolk would probably like to have Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy as their doctor. As medical director of the Cancer Center for Healing and the Center for New Medicine, Connealy seems to be all about tracking the external behaviors and incidents that have put her patients in a state that allows diseases and chronic conditions to spread.

If this sounds a lot like the famous book that explores how traumatic experiences reshape the body’s physiology, change the physical structure and function of the brain, and affect the way individuals feel and behave, well, that’s probably not the case.

Do stress and trauma cause cancer?

In a recent TikTok post, Connealy (@connealymd) very matter-of-factly describes the high incidences she sees in cancer patients of traumatic events or life circumstances that have triggered dramatic stress reactions in their bodies. This imbalance, she said, opens the door for chronic diseases like cancer to take root.

A common theme that I regularly see in patients is that they have usually experienced a very, very stressful event. It can be extreme working conditions. It could be a child, it could be a parent, it could be a divorce, but they’ve usually been under extreme stress, which we know affects the entire hypothalamic-pituitary axis and cortisol production. And the extreme production of cortisol is contributing to the way the cancer grows and multiplies.

For anyone (including this writer) who is about 120 credits and a few rounds of interns shy of a medical degree and license to practice medicine, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is, according to the National Institutes of Health, a neuroendocrine system which connects the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal glands to help the body respond to stress.

More research reveals that chronic activation of the HPA axis can lead to sustained high levels of cortisol, which can impair the immune system’s ability to detect and destroy cancer cells. And chronic inflammation, often associated with prolonged stress and cortisol dysregulation, has been identified as a potential risk factor for cancer development and progression.

This likely root cause identified, Connealy and her fellow organizations favor cancer treatments that are less toxic and invasive than traditional practices. In plain English, this means bolstering the body’s defenses through hyberbaric oxygen, IV vitamin C, low-dose chemotherapy, insulin-boosted chemotherapy, and surgery only when absolutely necessary.

Connealy doesn’t point the finger at any dietary cancer links on her website, but there are plenty of other medical professionals who are happy to call out the foods we should absolutely avoid if we don’t want to skyrocket our cancer risk. .

For example:

Commenters on the video seemed to take the doctors’ words to heart, with many wondering if the anxiety caused by what she shared would send them straight to the hospital.

Well if I wasn’t stressed before one of them wrote.

I am condemned. My life has been one tragic event after another for 56 years, another one in common.

@connealymd

New research suggests that high cortisol and stress hormones play a key role in cancer development, metastasis and increase the risk of recurrence. An excess of these hormones can be directly carcinogenic by suppressing immune function, promoting inflammation, and interfering with normal cell function. Treating and alleviating stress should be a top priority during cancer treatment. Stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, increase in response to perceived stressors. They play a role in the fight-or-flight response and help mobilize energy reserves, increase heart rate and blood pressure, and sharpen focus to deal with immediate threats. Stress hormones are absolutely necessary because they enable the body to respond effectively to stressful situations and ensure our survival. Tips: Spend time in natural light shortly after waking up and get adequate sunlight Ensure adequate intake of necessary nutrients, especially protein, fat-soluble vitamins, B vitamins, vitamin C minerals, etc. Balance your hormones Get enough sleep for your body Limit exposure to toxins Practice gratitude and mindfulness Hug and spend time with loved ones Take frequent walks in nature Find ways to express your creativity

original sound – connealymd

A woman who says she survived cancer supported the Connealys: I think it’s so true and nobody ever talks about it.

The Daily Dot reached out to Connealy via email for comment.

Chad Swiatecki

Chad Swiatecki is a 30-year-old journalist who moved to Austin, TX from his home state of Michigan in 2008. He most enjoys covering the intersection of arts, business, and local/state politics. He writes regularly for the Austin Monitor, and has written for Rolling Stone, Spin, New York Daily News, Texas Monthly, Austin Business Journal, Austin American-Statesman and many other regional and national media outlets.

Chad Swiatecki


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