Does Emotional Stress Increase Your Breast Cancer Risk?

By Marcel Hernandez, ND

Several decades ago, you’d probably have been considered weird, a part of the lunatic fringe, if you ventured to suggest that our emotions might in some mysterious way be linked to our health and susceptibility to disease.

Dr. Marcel Hernandez

Many of us have sensed that emotional stress, as well as overwork and fatigue, with their stressful effects, do make us more vulnerable to the sniffles, diarrhea, and infectious illnesses.

Now, of course, most people readily accept the link, thanks to the explosion of information from non-traditional medical sources. In other cultures, the link has been considered a simple fact of life for centuries, if not millennia.

In China, for example, the idea that there may be a link between emotional stress and our susceptibility to serious diseases, including cancer, has been accepted since ancient times.

In fact, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) holds that all internal or chronic diseases are caused by the seven major emotions: anger, shock, joy, fear, brooding, anxiety, and sorrow.

Hard to imagine that joy could be linked to disease. In fact, we suspect that the ancient TCM texts were talking about the kind of outward, overly emotional “joy” that is inevitably followed by a corresponding trough of despair, depression, or gloom, according to the universal law of duality that operates throughout the material cosmos.

Sri Yukteswar, guru of the renowned yoga master Paramhansa Yogananda, wrote that when we achieve complete freedom from stress through yoga practice, the body glows with health. Health, he wrote, is our natural state, and disease is what happens when we interfere with that natural condition by wrong living, and excess of all kinds.

Chinese medicine recognizes that cancer may develop from a variety of causes, including environmental toxins. But TCM suggests that one of the most common causes is disturbed or inharmonious feelings.

From a report published on the Truth About Cancer website:

“TCM points to emotional contributions to the development of cancer. In particular, it considers depression (as in repressed anger), grief (usually because of the death of a loved one), and anxiety (worry and fearfulness, and excess circular thinking − lots of ideas hanging around) to be major contributing factors.

TCM attributes the immediate cause of these emotion-sourced cancers to the way harmful emotions interfere with a free flow of energy in the body.

The above-referenced study cites a Ming Dynasty text by the surgeon Chen Shigong (1555-1636 AD) indicating that breast cancer “results from anxiety, emotional depression, and overthinking which impairs the liver, spleen, and heart and causes the obstruction of the [subtle energy] channels.”

Much more recently, a Chinese study in 2016 found that emotional factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression are good predictors of breast cancer risk.

One way negative emotions can promote cancer is by raising the levels of stress hormones that lower the body’s immune defenses and impair the body’s normal metabolizing of hormones and environmental toxins.

In short, if you want to remove negative emotions from the possible breast cancer risks in your life, you might do well to stop worrying about breast cancer – and anything else! Don’t worry, be happy. It can save your life.

To learn more about Dr. Marcel’s work, click HERE.