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Stress and anxiety strengthen tumors and weaken healing
Tumors not only feed on negative emotions, but also "use" them to protect themselves from the attacks of the immune system that tries to stop it.
This is why stress, anxiety and depression can compromise the outcome of immunotherapy treatments, making them less effective, and treating the emotional state becomes as essential as using other therapies.
This is demonstrated by a study conducted by the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and recently published in the journal Nature Medicine.
The results will be discussed on the occasion of the ninth edition of Immunotherapy and the Melanoma Bridge, a double international event which will end today in Naples and which will host the author of the work, Christian U. Blank.
"The study by Dutch colleagues clearly confirms the existence of a close connection between the emotional and psychological state of a cancer patient and the immune response, even when 'enhanced' by specific immunotherapy treatments", comments Paolo Ascierto, president of the National Cancer Institute IRCCS .
Stress can promote the growth and elasticity of the tumor, both through the production of a series of hormones (such as cortisol) which 'nourish it, both by promoting the creation of a favorable microenvironment for the spread of metastases and by 'weakening' and ' together' the cells of the immune system.
Therefore, psychological support from the beginning of the treatment process can have a triple function: on the one hand it can improve the patient's quality of life, on the other hand it can reduce the 'feeding' of the tumor and on the other hand it can support and protect the response to immunotherapy treatments".
It is therefore essential that the emotional and psychological state of the patient is not neglected, but must be taken into account by all. goals and objectives are an integral part of the treatment process