Stress, Cancer and the Use of Hypnosis

Stress hormones may play a new role in speeding up cancer growth. New research suggests that hormones produced during periods of stress may actually increase the growth rate of a particularly nasty kind of cancer.

A recent study at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University, showed that an increase in norepinephrine, which is a stress hormone, can stimulate tumor cells to produce two compounds. These compounds then go ahead and break down the tissue around the tumor cells and allow the cells to more easily move into the bloodstream. Then, they travel to another site in the body to form additional tumors. This is the process which is called metastasis.

It was shown that the same hormone can also stimulate the tumor cells to release another compound that can aid in the growth of new blood vessels that feed cancer cells, hastening the growth and spread of the disease. This work was reported in the journal Cancer Research.

Research scientists at Ohio State University, then also focused on the role of these compounds. Two of them, both matrix metalloproteinases - MMP-2 and MMP-9 - play a role in breaking down the way that cells attach to in order to maintain their shape. The third compound, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), is important in the growth of new blood vessels into tumor cells.

An interesting earlier work by the University of Texas had shown that the same stress hormones can stimulate ovarian tumor cells to produce these three compounds. The key to that discovery was that the two stress hormones – epinephrine and norepinephrine – would bind to places on the surface of ovarian cancer cells, called adrenergic receptors, and stimulate the release of MMP-2, MMP-9 and VEGF which might then foster cancer growth.

It was found by the Ohio study group that MMP-2 and MMP-9 contribute to the aggressiveness of tumors. It wasn't exactly clear as to how they are operating but they may work to facilitate blood vessel growth in new tumors so that they can grow.

It seems to me that using hypnosis as a way to deal with and release stress is a "no-brainer". Hypnosis is known to work with the autonomic nervous system and shut off sympathetic responses that can leave our body out of balance in the hypothalamus, pituitary adrenal axis response. We can use hypnosis as a way to also help with emotional healing which is a stress reliever within itself. Perhaps, with emotional healing we can shut off the instructions that our body was given to allow the cancer cells to go out of control. Our bodies know how to repair. They are programmed for health.

Seth-Deborah Roth, CRNA, CHT has had many years of experience in the medical field as a Nurse Anesthetist. She has been seen on the Discovery Channel's "Myth Busters" hypnosis segment. She is a member of the National Board of Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists and is an instructor in medical hypnosis at the Hypnotherapy Center in Oakland, CA. She received masters certifications in NLP and Reiki, and she became a practitioner in Time Line Therapy and HypnoBirthing. She has also been certified with special training in Pain Control, Cancer Hypnosis, Medical Hypnosis, Pediatric Hypnosis, Habit Control and Weight Loss. Her practice "Hypnotherapy for Health" is located in both Castro Valley and Pleasanton, California where she specializes in Medical Hypnosis. She has been a speaker at conferences and on the radio. She produces hypnosis CDs and specializes in customizing CDs for different medical issues or surgical procedures.

For more information please go to her web site at or browse her blog at

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