Stress is almost inevitable in life which proves to be the root cause of many physical and mental health issues. Commonly known as anxiety, stress has been studied to cause many hazards to health. Apart from triggering physical issues, it also impacts the mental health by causing lack of sleep, feeling of hopelessness, irritability, to name a few. The extent of damage caused by stress increases in case of an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) stated that the risk of developing cancer increases in a person who suffers from GAD. As per the study titled, “The risk of cancer in patients with generalized anxiety disorder: a nationwide population-based study,” while GAD elevates the risk of developing any kind of cancer, the probability of developing lung cancer or prostate cancer is higher in people suffering from GAD.
GAD patients are prone to cancer than general population
The study observed 19,793 GAD patients with a follow-up of 89,485 person-years. Its findings revealed that the overall cancer risk in GAD patients was higher than in general population. The study further stated that the risk was more in males, aged 80 years and older. In these males, the risk of developing lung or prostate cancer was higher than any other cancer.
The study also observed that the most probable cancers in GAD patients were lung and mediastinum, followed by liver and biliary tract. The chances of developing colon and rectum cancers were least among these patients. Besides, the study also suggested that the cancer was diagnosed within the first year after diagnosis of GAD. This could be probably because people with GAD tend to visit their doctors more frequently and undergo several medical examinations for the cure.
According to the study, anxiety tends to increase the level of corticosterone and other stress hormones, such as catecholamines in the body. These hormones further alter the activity of the tumor microenvironment, thereby encouraging the developed of cancer. Additionally, excessive stress is also studied to impact the cellular process involved in the repair of damaged DNA, which further leads to development of the oncogenic mutations. Besides, “Stress hormones could also accelerate growth of tumor cells by altering glucose uptake, promote tumor migration by increasing the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2, and stimulate angiogenesis by inducing production of pro-angiogenic cytokines, such as vascular endothelial growth factor and interleukin-6. These mechanisms might contribute differently to specific stages of cancer development and to certain cancer types,” added the study.
Causes of cancer due to GAD
Explaining the probable causes of cancer in case of the GAD patient, the study stated that the higher risk of prostate cancer can be accounted to factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, and high blood pressure, which are common with such patients. Meanwhile, the increased risk of lung cancer in male patients can be attributed to smoking, which is often associated with GAD. The study also added that patients who are suffering from lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at a risk of developing anxiety. And these lung diseases are themselves probable causes of lung cancer in GAD patients.
Road to recovery
Though any kind of stress is harmful to both body and mind, GAD is a severe mental condition. People with GAD often experience excessive worry, anxiety, fear, and anticipating disaster all the time. If left untreated, the mental condition can develop to become a chronic disorder.
If you or your loved one is suffering from GAD, seek medical help from a certified medical practitioner at the earliest. You can connect with the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California for all the required details on generalized anxiety disorders treatment in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-972-9459 or chat online with our certified representatives to learn about the gad treatment centers in California.