How Psychological Factors Affect Head and Neck Cancer Tumors Growth

Researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center have further insight on how stress and depression can affect head and neck cancer patients by weakening the immune system. The results of the study are presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in April 28, 2011.

The experts found that effects of stress in the growth of tumor were more in patients of head and neck cancer in its early stage. The impact was less in patients of the advanced stage.

Poor mental state lead to the more production of a signaling protein vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) associated with tumor growth.

The findings were obtained by carrying out studies on 37 head and neck cancer patients. Most of these patients were men with an average age of 57 years. Factors like perceived stress and symptoms of depression were shown by the study to raise the levels of VEGF in the tissues of these patients.

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