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Stress Reduction in Cancer Patients May Pay Off
Cancer patients who learn to cope with their stress can have improvement in stress-related biomarkers after a short time, new research suggests.

And that could translate to improved health and possibly improved survival, says researcher Edward Nelson, MD, chief of hematology and oncology at the University of California, Irvine.

The biomarker Nelson looked at is the length of telomeres. Telomeres are the structures on the ends of chromosomes that keep the chromosomes from deteriorating or otherwise going haywire. They're often compared to the caps on the ends of shoelaces.

They can shorten with advancing age, but can also shorten with stress. Stress, in turn, may increase the rate of cancer growth and spread.

Stress reduction can lengthen the telomeres, the new research finds.

"Women participating in our clinical study who experienced an improved qualify of life and decreased stress response had an increase in telomere length in the circulating white blood cells," Nelson tells WebMD.
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