Is there a link between mental illness and Cancer?

Is there a link between mental illness and Cancer?

Is there a link between mental illness and Cancer?

By Natalie Morelli

Research continues

We question if you are more likely to get cancer if you suffer from a mental illness. Mental illnesses are becoming more common today. Especially depression or stress factors which can lead to serious illness as we get older. Research is still going on to this day, to explore this question and correlation.

Early research detects that mental illness does contribute

As of October 6, 2004 it was revealed that people with mental disorders like clinical depression and bipolar disorder have a higher risk of developing certain cancers. Also, it found that people with mood disorders such as depression had higher odds of developing tobacco related cancers. These were cancers of the mouth, throat and lung. As 32% percent of men and 43% of women with mood disorders developed cancer less than two years after their diagnosis of the mood disorder. As 17% of women and 11% of men had anxiety disorders prior to their cancer diagnosis.

Avoiding stress and the importance of living in a healthy lifestyle

Today, research is unable to show a strong link between mental illness and cancer. Though it is definitely noted that prolonged stress could lead to a state of inflammation that may contribute to cancer risk. So as studies continue it is definitely important to see that a healthy lifestyle and avoiding stress can decrease chances of getting any such cancer.
The research is more relevant to people than with dogs, as studies have shown there is no such evidence that dogs can get dog cancer from stress. Saying this we still need to understand that any such depression or stress we face can affect our dog. As dogs are intelligent creatures who, like humans, have a range of emotions. So quite frankly, if you’re not happy it’s likely your dog isn’t going to be any happier either.

Signs to look out for:

If you are experiencing any type of stress or depression, there are signs to look out for such as:

  • Rapid heartrate
  • Quick breathing
  • Muscle tension
  • Increased sweating
  • Physical changes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired often
  • Any physical changes
  • Lacking motivation

Factors that can lead to chronic stress or depression are:

  • Living in a dysfunctional or abusive home situation
  • Working in a job you hate
  • Having frequent financial troubles
  • Living with chronic illness or caring for a loved one who does

Know the signs and get help immediately

Therefore, it’s very important to seek help if you notice any changes in you or even your dog. It’s about getting the right treatment, as early detection is very important. Whatever we conclude about the link between cancer and mental illness it’s important to recognize that balance is the key. As mental health is just as important as physical health. It can often affect you in ways you would not expect. Try to heal your mind and body equally and they will get stronger together.

Take good care of yourself and your dog

We need to be a healthy role model to our dogs, as it’s our responsibility! Dogs smell cancer as mentioned earlier they are intelligent creatures. When something is not quite right dogs can sense this. Even though there is no link between a dog’s mental health and cancer, they can still get dog cancer. So, take good care of yourself and your dog, and always let your dog see you smile – as you become happy and healthy.


Natalie is a regular guest contributor to Kodi's Paw-a-thon blog.
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