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How Stress Affects Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide, and while we often hear about the dangers of too much sun, there’s another factor that might surprise you: stress. Research has begun to uncover how everyday stress can play a role in developing skin cancer, particularly the non-melanoma types like basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.

When we’re stressed, our body reacts by releasing certain hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. These are the same chemicals that give you a quick boost to handle a tough situation. However, if stress drags on for a long time, these hormones can start causing trouble, including problems with our skin.

The study “Neuroendocrine Factors: The Missing Link in Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer” investigates this issue. It explains that stress hormones might do more than make us feel anxious; they could also affect how our skin grows and repairs itself, possibly leading to cancer. The idea is that when our immune system is weakened by stress, it’s less able to fight off the beginnings of cancer.

Understanding the link between stress and skin health is crucial, considering how common skin cancer is. It suggests we should think about stress management not just for our mental health but for our physical health, too. Techniques like mindfulness, yoga, or even regular therapy could be part of preventing skin cancer for those at high risk or already undergoing treatment.

The research also opens the door to new treatments that might one day directly target these stress pathways. Scientists hope that by learning exactly how stress affects our skin on a molecular level, they could develop drugs to block these effects and help prevent skin cancer.

In short, while it’s important to keep using sunscreen and watch for unusual moles or spots, we must also pay attention to our stress levels. This study adds to the growing evidence that our mental health deeply influences our physical health, suggesting that managing stress might be another key to fighting skin cancer.


Lupu, M., Caruntu, A., Caruntu, C., Papagheorghe, L. M., Ilie, M. A., Voiculescu, V., Boda, D., Constantin, C., Tanase, C., Sifaki, M., Drakoulis, N., Mamoulakis, C., Tzanakakis, G., Neagu, M., Spandidos, D. A., Izotov, B. N., Tsatsakis, A. M.”Neuroendocrine factors: The missing link in non‑melanoma skin cancer (Review)”. Oncology Reports 38.3 (2017): 1327-1340.

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