[MOL] Repressed Emotions May Hasten Breast Cancer Death [00117] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Repressed Emotions May Hasten Breast Cancer Death

Repressed Emotions May Hasten Breast Cancer Death
    [11/03/2000; Reuters Health]

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women with breast cancer
who try to keep their emotions under control might be
doing themselves more harm than good, according to a new study.
A team of researchers studying fluctuations in the stress hormone
cortisol found that women who repressed their emotions were more
likely to show disruptions in the normal balance of the hormone,
compared with those who did not. Earlier studies have shown that
the unbalanced cortisol fluctuations can predict early death
in women with breast cancer that has spread to other areas of
the body. Cortisol suppresses the immune system, and researchers
think that it may hamper the body's ability to fight off cancer. In
healthy people, cortisol levels are highest in the morning and
tend to decrease in the evening. However in the study of 125
women with breast cancer, the researchers found that those who
repressed their emotions did not show the same healthy fluctuation
of cortisol that non-repressors showed. ``In repressed women,
we saw that cortisol levels did not decline in the evening as
they did in non-repressed women. This elevated level may cause
a person not to sleep very well which in turn can trigger other
negative health effects,'' lead author Janine Giese-Davis of
Stanford University in California told Reuters Health. ``These
findings may suggest one way that repressing our emotions may
be bad for our health,'' said Giese-Davis.

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