You have probably heard that stress — just like eating too much, drinking too much, or lying around on the couch all day — is bad for your health. Chronic stress can make you more vulnerable to colds. It can slow wound healing and weaken your immune system. It can raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It can cause headaches, sleeping problems, diarrhea, anger and depression.
If you're a cancer patient there is a huge chance that you're experiencing chronic stress. Only 5% of cancer patients get psychological help, according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
That's a shame because a study published a few weeks ago in the journal Cancer found that breast cancer patients who took a 10-week stress management course had significantly better quality of life six months later, one year and five years later, and according to this most recent data, even eight to fifteen years later.
In the study, women were either assigned to a one-day cancer education seminar, or to a 10-week course with guided sessions on coping skills, identifying sources of stress, minimizing things that cause stress, how to respond to stress, breathing exercises and anger management. Women who completed the group class reported better physical and emotional health even more than a decade later.
If you feel stressed or your life feels out of control, get help.