Stress has many sides – Especially with prostate cancer

Stress and prostate cancer often go hand in hand.  You may not know that there are actually different types, according to the American Psychological Association.

Acute stress

Acute stress is a short-term reaction to situations and events, or perceived threats, such as:

  • Making a costly mistake at work
  • The bank rejecting your mortgage application
  • A flooded basement

But it can also be a reaction to something fun and exciting (like riding a roller coaster). During these times, we may:

  • Get angry
  • Experience a rise in blood pressure
  • Get a headache or muscle pains

Fortunately, these symptoms typically come and go pretty quickly.

Episodic acute stress

Episodic acute stress can occur in people who can’t relax, take on too much of everything, or seem to worry about every little thing.

In addition to real “stressors,” these people may create their own internal stress because of the way they act and think.

Because of the constant heightened state of arousal, they may be at risk for:

  • Recurrent tension headaches/migraines
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks

Chronic stress

This is long-term and unrelenting. It may be a reaction to:

  • An unhappy marriage or relationship
  • A dead-end job
  • A childhood trauma

Side effects of stress

Stress has been linked to emotional problems as well as serious physical problems, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • A suppressed immune system
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke

Some even believe stress is linked to cancer.

Stress and prostate cancer

A diagnosis of prostate cancer could trigger acute stress.  Coping with advanced prostate cancer, or a cancer recurrence, could also lead to chronic stress.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to try to relieve stress.  When coping with your loved one’s prostate cancer, it is important to:

  • Eat healthy
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Exercise
  • Take care of yourself

Read our other articles, including:

Back to stress and prostate cancer

American Psychological Association. Stress: the different kinds of stress. Accessed January 15, 2009.

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