Fetalvero: The stress factor

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By Noemi C. Fetalvero

Two empty bottles

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


SEN. MIRIAM Defensor Santiago made a startling revelation that she has lung cancer despite the fact that she and her husband do not smoke.

The feisty senator is often times featured in Senate hearings lashing out at fellow senators as she has been very vocal against anomalies, irregularities and graft and corruption.

We love her as she always speaks with eloquence and is direct to the point especially when she tackles the subject of constitutionality of certain issues as an expert on the Philippine Constitution. She may have gotten the ire of some of her fellow legislators, however, it does not seem to bother her. I always worried about her health as she has hypertension and other health issues. Could the senator’s cancer been caused by stress as a result of her interaction at the senate?

To get to the bottom on the mystery and chemistry of cancer, and to find weather or not there is a link between stress and cancer I searched the Internet. “Though no study report establishes a direct-and-cause effect relationship between stress and cancer, many studies show that excessive stress may increase the risk of developing cancer, just as it increases the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, obesity and infertility,” according to various websites such as cancer.gov, nytimes.com and stress.org.

I found out that stress, in small doses, can be beneficial: “Stress can be positive, making us more alert and improving our performance. But long periods of stress can cause mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and it can contribute to physical health problems such as high blood pressure and stomach ulcers.”

Medical scientists also reported that stressful events can alter the levels of hormones in the body and affect the immune system and when the immune system is low, the person becomes susceptible to infection and other diseases.

I pray that the latest medical breakthrough, which has been reported to be better than radiation and chemotherapy, that Defensor will take to remedy her illness will be successful so that she can be back sooner than expected at the senate as she is very effective in the check and balance at the legislative body.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 10, 2014.

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