You may know that too much stress leads to heart disease and deadly heart attacks. But did you know that a lot of cancer cases suddenly appear after a prolonged period of stress?

Doctors have seen this in their patients for some time. But they never had scientific evidence to connect the two. But now we have it.

Researchers have discovered that your body makes a hormone called noradrenalin when you're under stress. Noradrenalin, as you can tell from its name, is very similar to adrenaline. Like adrenaline, it's also made by your adrenals and it produces impulses in your brain akin to feelings of excitement.

However, the researchers found that noradrenalin also stimulates two enzymes called metalloproteinases. These enzymes dissolve the tissue around tumors, which enables cancer cells to move into the newly vacated areas.

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Noradrenalin may also stimulate the tumor cells to release a chemical called vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF. VEGF stimulates new arteries to grow, which delivers blood to feed the growing cancer. VEGF can speed the growth and spread of cancer.

Stress is necessary for life. We can't live, learn, and grow without it. A runner must stress his body to achieve victory. The physicist must stress hours over how to set up a nuclear reaction.

Like everything else, though, there's a balance. Go too far beyond that balance for too long and stress becomes your enemy. In fact, if the body produces noradrenalin for too long, cancer becomes much more likely.

Much of what we worry about never comes to fruition. And the rest? We can't do much about it. Have you ever seen worry change the outcome of anything?

There are some things you can do to avoid cancer-causing stress. The first is to take up meditation or prayer to give yourself some quiet time. Many studies have shown that people who meditate and pray lead much healthier lives.

Also try drinking some chamomile tea in the evening to settle your body down. If you're very stressed, I suggest you try taking the homeopathic Rescue Remedy, which is available at most health food stores.

And if you haven't learned to do so yet, there's no time like now to practice unconditional forgiveness and love. Love rests the soul and forgiveness rests the mind, that otherwise would be stimulating your brain to make lots of noradrenalin.

Ref: Cancer Research November 1, 2006; 66(21): 10357-10364; Science Daily November 3, 2006.

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