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Pre-surgical stress management boosts immune function, lowers mood disturbance in prostate cancer patients
Date:1/28/2011

HOUSTON - Practicing stress management techniques before prostate cancer surgery may help activate the body's immune response leading to quicker recovery, as well as aid in lowering mood disturbance, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The study is published in the February/March edition of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. It's the first to examine the effects pre-surgery stress management training has on immune outcomes in men with prostate cancer undergoing radical prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate). The researchers previously reported that men who received this training before surgery had significantly less mood disturbance and improved quality of life one year later.

Two levels of stress accompany surgery

"Men who face prostatectomy as treatment for prostate cancer often have high stress levels about the procedure and the potential effects on their quality of life," said Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., the study's senior author and professor in MD Anderson's Departments of General Oncology and Behavioral Science. "Both the physical and psychological stress of surgery can be harmful to the immune system. Even brief pre-surgery sessions of stress management positively impact on the recovery process, both in terms of psychological and immunological outcomes," he said.

Surgical stress causes a powerful inflammatory response close to the surgery site and throughout the body, raising certain cell-signaling proteins called cytokines that increase inflammation and suppress the immune response. Psychological stress dysregulates cytokine function, reduces the function of natural killer cells and slows wound healing.

While the elevation of inflammatory cytokines may be harmful if sustained, short-term increases before and after surgery may signal an immune response that helps wounds heal and recover.

Participants received dif
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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
713-745-2457
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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