Stressed out about your stress levels? Sometimes it’s a vicious cycle. Deadlines, bills, global warming…it seems there is a laundry list of things to feel stressed about.
The bad news: Now there’s evidence that stress can increase your risk of cancer.
In a study published in the April 16 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, mice that were restrained (a huge stressor) and then exposed to radiation developed more tumors than unrestrained mice that were exposed to radiation. The researchers found that a class of hormones called glucocorticoids was elevated in the restrained (stressed) mice. Glucocorticoids suppress p53—a key protein that plays an important role in the prevention of tumors.
We know a lot about how people can reduce their risk of cancer with diet and other lifestyle choices, but the role of environmental toxins in cancer risk is still an area of concern. (Last week, the EPA released a major report on breast cancer’s links to environmental links.)
In a collaborative effort between the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration, the NIH has unveiled a new tool for identifying possible toxins: a robot.