PUBLIC HEALTH


Cancer - How to contribute to your own treatment.

“Many people affected by cancer can experience psychological difficulties such as stress, anxiety and depression. Research has demonstrated that these can suppress immune activity, right at the time when patients need as much support as they can get from their immune system."

This research is exciting as it suggests that an activity as simple as singing could reduce some of this stress-induced suppression, helping to improve wellbeing and quality of life amongst patients and put them in the best position to receive treatment – says Dr Daisy Fancourt.



Stress and depression is a common situation faced by cancer patients. Many studies have been done to find a cure and many new treatments have been curated for patients. Yet, many do not know that simple changes can be done in their lifestyle that would help his/her immune response and increase the efficiency of treatment.



Singing

Dr Daisy Fancourt had conducted a study on cancer patients and caregivers in Wales, United Kingdom. Subjects participated in a 70 minute choir rehearsal and tests were conducted to measure cortisol; the stress hormone level before and after the choir.

The study showed that cortisol level decreased about 15% and 20% for patients and caregivers (Fancourt, 2015). Either singing or listening to music helps increase enjoyment and relaxation. The only difference is that singing, especially in groups will lead to enjoyment while listening to music is more soothing to the mind.





Change in Environment
Imagine that you have just moved into a big house or have just step foot in another country. These are just some of the examples of changing to enriching surroundings which are either permanent or temporarily that affects mood and emotion.

A study conducted on rats has proven that a change of environment with a 2 week duration helps in the proliferation of T-cells which leads to increased immune response function.





“Just within 2 weeks, their immune systems were completely different and seemed to be better prepared in fighting infections. You could say that we've just put them in their equivalent of a holiday resort for two weeks and let them enjoy their new and stimulating surroundings,” says Fulvio D'Acquisto.

There are many other ways that can help boost one’s mood and emotions. Everyone is different but the key is finding something that will tickle your mood strings and give you happiness. Go out! Have fun with family and friends! Explore the world and don’t dwell on your suffering but be grateful with what you have.

REFERENCES

Fancourt, D., Williamon. A., Carvalho. L. A., Steptoe. A., Dow. R., & Lewis. I (2016). Singing modulates mood, stress, cortisol, cytokine and neuropeptide activity in cancer patients and carers, 10(63), doi: 10.3332/ecancer.2016.631

Rattazzi1. L., Piras. G., Brod. S., Smith. K., Ono. M & Acquisto. F. D. (2016). Impact of Enriched Environment on Murine T cell Differentiation and Gene Expression Profile, 7(31), doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2016.00381

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