Protecting Your Prostate From Stress
New York, NY, July 24, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- What is more stressful than a cancer diagnosis? Perhaps learning that the very act of stressing about your cancer could cause it to spread. New evidence linking behavioral stress to prostate cancer risk may bring new prostate cancer treatments. Beta-blockers could soon help reduce the autonomic nervous system's troublesome impact on both early and more advanced stages of prostate cancer.
Stress takes a toll on the body, this we know, but researchers may be closer to understanding how, particularly in the case of prostate cancer. As a world-renowned expert in robotic prostate surgery, Dr. David Samadi, Chairman of Urology, Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and Professor of Urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, is optimistic about new prostate cancer treatments that could come from findings like these.
"We're seeing how intricately involved the nervous system is in cancer growth," said Dr. Samadi. "The more we learn about the body's response to stress and its impact on prostate tumor development, the better we can mitigate danger."
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City isolated two distinct ways that stress engages the autonomic nervous system to stimulate prostate cancer growth, http://www.einstein.yu.edu/news/releases/922/nerves-play-key-role-in-triggering-prostate-cancer-and-influencing-its-spread/.
The sympathetic nervous system releases noradrenaline during times of acute stress and danger. This fight-or-flight stress hormone can fuel prostate cancer is its early stages. Later, the parasympathetic nervous system that speaks to connective tissues around tumor cells may signal the cells to break loose and spread beyond the prostate, thereby accelerating disease that is already advancing.
A prostate tumor's nerve density might also play a role. "Certain prostate tumors contain more dense nerve bundles that could make them more susceptible to the harmful affects of stress," explained Dr. Samadi.
Stop stressing, start blocking
"We can't possibly live stress free," acknowledges Dr. Samadi. "But it's encouraging to learn more about how current beta-blockers could be the answer to managing stress-induced prostate cancer growth."
Improved survival rates were seen among the participants already taking beta-blockers for high blood pressure or anxiety. Since these drugs are designed to interfere with adrenaline and noradrenaline receptors, they could be repurposed to ward off stress-induced changes in prostate and other cancers.
In January of this year, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center published a study linking stress to prostate cancer development and reduced effectiveness of prostate cancer drugs, http://www.jci.org/articles/view/63324. The study also found beta-blockers successful in lowering incidence of prostate cancer.
Dr. Samadi spearheads The Prostate Cancer Center at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan at 485 Madison Avenue, between 51st-52nd Streets. 212-365-5000 www.roboticoncology.com
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