The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Content within the patient forum is user-generated and has not been reviewed by medical professionals. Other sections of the Melanoma Research Foundation website include information that has been reviewed by medical professionals as appropriate. All medical decisions should be made in consultation with your doctor or other qualified medical professional.

Melanoma diagnosis and stress. Are they related?

Forums General Melanoma Community Melanoma diagnosis and stress. Are they related?

  • Post
    oldblue
    Participant

      My oncology surgeon told me that she felt that they were related. She estimated that over half her clients reported extreme or very high stress in the previous 12 months before a melanoma diagnosis.

      My personal experience confirms her hunch. But, is there any research that people are aware of relating the two?

      Thank you.

      Nigel.

    Viewing 14 reply threads
    • Replies
        DZnDef
        Participant

          Hi Nigel – I can't provide any specific links to research, but I can definitely confirm on a personal level that I suffered from extreme stress as well as grief for a prolonged period prior to my diagnosis.  Chronic stress is brutal.  Do what you can to alleviate it.

          Cheers – Maggie

            oldblue
            Participant

               

              Thanks Maggie. I'd be very interested in a lot of responses to this question. Almost everyone with a mel diagnosis Ihave spoken to says they experienced higher than normal stress before hand.

              Thank you in advance.

              Nigel.

              RJoeyB
              Participant

                I've always had more stress than I needed, I think, but in the year or two prior to diagnosis, I'd say it was even more elevated.  I certainly don't blame stress as the cause of my disease, but we know that stress weakens the immune system and we also now know the significant role the immune system can play in fighting active melanoma (and perhaps keeping it at bay), among other cancers, diseases, and illnesses.  

                Interestingly, in the four years since my diagnosis, I've had almost no colds, flus, headaches, etc.  I wasn't sickly before, but could count on a couple of bad colds every year, the flu every few years, and I was getting regular headaches, borderline migraine,me very few weeks.  My melanoma diagnosis brought with it many new levels of stress, of course, but some of the "everyday stresses" of work also became less important — they didn't go away, but I didn't give them as much attention, priorities, I suppose.  There's also likely some impact from the multiple immunotherapies I've had.  As mentioned by others, there aren't any studies here, nor are there any that say that melanoma-specific immunotherapies improve immune response to other acute illnesses, but I would think there has to be some connection.

                Of course, any time I bring this up, I feel like I'm going to jinx myself into getting a nasty cold ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

                Joe

                RJoeyB
                Participant

                  I've always had more stress than I needed, I think, but in the year or two prior to diagnosis, I'd say it was even more elevated.  I certainly don't blame stress as the cause of my disease, but we know that stress weakens the immune system and we also now know the significant role the immune system can play in fighting active melanoma (and perhaps keeping it at bay), among other cancers, diseases, and illnesses.  

                  Interestingly, in the four years since my diagnosis, I've had almost no colds, flus, headaches, etc.  I wasn't sickly before, but could count on a couple of bad colds every year, the flu every few years, and I was getting regular headaches, borderline migraine,me very few weeks.  My melanoma diagnosis brought with it many new levels of stress, of course, but some of the "everyday stresses" of work also became less important — they didn't go away, but I didn't give them as much attention, priorities, I suppose.  There's also likely some impact from the multiple immunotherapies I've had.  As mentioned by others, there aren't any studies here, nor are there any that say that melanoma-specific immunotherapies improve immune response to other acute illnesses, but I would think there has to be some connection.

                  Of course, any time I bring this up, I feel like I'm going to jinx myself into getting a nasty cold ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

                  Joe

                  RJoeyB
                  Participant

                    I've always had more stress than I needed, I think, but in the year or two prior to diagnosis, I'd say it was even more elevated.  I certainly don't blame stress as the cause of my disease, but we know that stress weakens the immune system and we also now know the significant role the immune system can play in fighting active melanoma (and perhaps keeping it at bay), among other cancers, diseases, and illnesses.  

                    Interestingly, in the four years since my diagnosis, I've had almost no colds, flus, headaches, etc.  I wasn't sickly before, but could count on a couple of bad colds every year, the flu every few years, and I was getting regular headaches, borderline migraine,me very few weeks.  My melanoma diagnosis brought with it many new levels of stress, of course, but some of the "everyday stresses" of work also became less important — they didn't go away, but I didn't give them as much attention, priorities, I suppose.  There's also likely some impact from the multiple immunotherapies I've had.  As mentioned by others, there aren't any studies here, nor are there any that say that melanoma-specific immunotherapies improve immune response to other acute illnesses, but I would think there has to be some connection.

                    Of course, any time I bring this up, I feel like I'm going to jinx myself into getting a nasty cold ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

                    Joe

                    oldblue
                    Participant

                       

                      Thanks Maggie. I'd be very interested in a lot of responses to this question. Almost everyone with a mel diagnosis Ihave spoken to says they experienced higher than normal stress before hand.

                      Thank you in advance.

                      Nigel.

                      oldblue
                      Participant

                         

                        Thanks Maggie. I'd be very interested in a lot of responses to this question. Almost everyone with a mel diagnosis Ihave spoken to says they experienced higher than normal stress before hand.

                        Thank you in advance.

                        Nigel.

                      DZnDef
                      Participant

                        Hi Nigel – I can't provide any specific links to research, but I can definitely confirm on a personal level that I suffered from extreme stress as well as grief for a prolonged period prior to my diagnosis.  Chronic stress is brutal.  Do what you can to alleviate it.

                        Cheers – Maggie

                        DZnDef
                        Participant

                          Hi Nigel – I can't provide any specific links to research, but I can definitely confirm on a personal level that I suffered from extreme stress as well as grief for a prolonged period prior to my diagnosis.  Chronic stress is brutal.  Do what you can to alleviate it.

                          Cheers – Maggie

                          Colleen66
                          Participant

                            Chronic Stress / Heavy Stress Periods can cause the Immune System to react.  That worn down feeling sometimes comes before getting a sickness ie. cold/flu.  Lymph nodes swell to fight the sickness, the Autoimmune system kicks in.  At this point the body is prone to developing health issues.  Maybe this is the link your Doctor is talking about?

                            Colleen

                            Colleen66
                            Participant

                              Chronic Stress / Heavy Stress Periods can cause the Immune System to react.  That worn down feeling sometimes comes before getting a sickness ie. cold/flu.  Lymph nodes swell to fight the sickness, the Autoimmune system kicks in.  At this point the body is prone to developing health issues.  Maybe this is the link your Doctor is talking about?

                              Colleen

                              Colleen66
                              Participant

                                Chronic Stress / Heavy Stress Periods can cause the Immune System to react.  That worn down feeling sometimes comes before getting a sickness ie. cold/flu.  Lymph nodes swell to fight the sickness, the Autoimmune system kicks in.  At this point the body is prone to developing health issues.  Maybe this is the link your Doctor is talking about?

                                Colleen

                                Squash
                                Participant

                                  There is a school of thought that states that all cancers are caused by a depressed immune system bought on by repressed toxic emotions ie grief , anger, hate , resentment which you could call stress which builds up over time and leaves the body open to disease.

                                  It is suprising that this is not discussed or looked at more closely by mainstream medicine. It makes perfect sense to me but i guess a lot of people would not feel very comfortable believing that they manifested their disease.  

                                   

                                  Squash
                                  Participant

                                    There is a school of thought that states that all cancers are caused by a depressed immune system bought on by repressed toxic emotions ie grief , anger, hate , resentment which you could call stress which builds up over time and leaves the body open to disease.

                                    It is suprising that this is not discussed or looked at more closely by mainstream medicine. It makes perfect sense to me but i guess a lot of people would not feel very comfortable believing that they manifested their disease.  

                                     

                                      Germer
                                      Participant

                                        I was definitely going through a period of high stress before my diagnosis. One of the main things I tried after being diagnosed was meditation to see if I could reduce the stress a little bit. 

                                        Germer
                                        Participant

                                          I was definitely going through a period of high stress before my diagnosis. One of the main things I tried after being diagnosed was meditation to see if I could reduce the stress a little bit. 

                                          Germer
                                          Participant

                                            I was definitely going through a period of high stress before my diagnosis. One of the main things I tried after being diagnosed was meditation to see if I could reduce the stress a little bit. 

                                            rick1981
                                            Participant

                                              If I can speak for my wife, yes – she was under a lot of stress before being diagnosed. On a professional level she's extremely ambitious, travelled around the globe and just took on a new and even more challenging job. On a personal level she also always has had a hard time unwinding, there was always something to do, someone to help, etc. On top of that we/she had been trying to get pregnant for over 2 years without any luck which weighed down on her heavily. So I'd say that she is a high stress person to begin with but the 2 years before the diagnosis were even further elevated, yes.

                                              We have read a lot of "radical remission", causes of melanoma, and stress does come up quite a bit. So a mix of daily excercise (30mins minimum of walking, cycling), nidra yoga, reiki plus alternative treatments such as meridian treatment/Qi and massages are now in place to let her relax a bit more…. Plus we have a little baby now so that bring a lot of joy. So we do everything to minimize stress… 

                                              rick1981
                                              Participant

                                                If I can speak for my wife, yes – she was under a lot of stress before being diagnosed. On a professional level she's extremely ambitious, travelled around the globe and just took on a new and even more challenging job. On a personal level she also always has had a hard time unwinding, there was always something to do, someone to help, etc. On top of that we/she had been trying to get pregnant for over 2 years without any luck which weighed down on her heavily. So I'd say that she is a high stress person to begin with but the 2 years before the diagnosis were even further elevated, yes.

                                                We have read a lot of "radical remission", causes of melanoma, and stress does come up quite a bit. So a mix of daily excercise (30mins minimum of walking, cycling), nidra yoga, reiki plus alternative treatments such as meridian treatment/Qi and massages are now in place to let her relax a bit more…. Plus we have a little baby now so that bring a lot of joy. So we do everything to minimize stress… 

                                                rick1981
                                                Participant

                                                  If I can speak for my wife, yes – she was under a lot of stress before being diagnosed. On a professional level she's extremely ambitious, travelled around the globe and just took on a new and even more challenging job. On a personal level she also always has had a hard time unwinding, there was always something to do, someone to help, etc. On top of that we/she had been trying to get pregnant for over 2 years without any luck which weighed down on her heavily. So I'd say that she is a high stress person to begin with but the 2 years before the diagnosis were even further elevated, yes.

                                                  We have read a lot of "radical remission", causes of melanoma, and stress does come up quite a bit. So a mix of daily excercise (30mins minimum of walking, cycling), nidra yoga, reiki plus alternative treatments such as meridian treatment/Qi and massages are now in place to let her relax a bit more…. Plus we have a little baby now so that bring a lot of joy. So we do everything to minimize stress… 

                                                Squash
                                                Participant

                                                  There is a school of thought that states that all cancers are caused by a depressed immune system bought on by repressed toxic emotions ie grief , anger, hate , resentment which you could call stress which builds up over time and leaves the body open to disease.

                                                  It is suprising that this is not discussed or looked at more closely by mainstream medicine. It makes perfect sense to me but i guess a lot of people would not feel very comfortable believing that they manifested their disease.  

                                                   

                                                  ecc26
                                                  Participant

                                                    I suppose I was under more than normal stress just prior to my diagnosis as I was finishing my veterinary clinical rotations/degree and had just moved to PEI for an internship. Honestly though, I've always had an excellent immune system- even during that period of time. I hadn't had a cold or flu in years, while everyone around me was constantly coughing and/or out with flu I never got sick (still don't). For me, the diagnosis and therapies cause stress, but that is the biggest relationship I can associate with it. Everyone's different, but personally I don't think my diagnosis had anything to do with stress or a depressed immune system. Plenty of stress since then related to bad news and trying to find something that will kill the damn thing, but I really can't blame the initial diagnosis on stress. Again, even post diagnosis, rarely ill from viral or bacterial causes (side effects of meds, sometimes yes). 

                                                    ecc26
                                                    Participant

                                                      I suppose I was under more than normal stress just prior to my diagnosis as I was finishing my veterinary clinical rotations/degree and had just moved to PEI for an internship. Honestly though, I've always had an excellent immune system- even during that period of time. I hadn't had a cold or flu in years, while everyone around me was constantly coughing and/or out with flu I never got sick (still don't). For me, the diagnosis and therapies cause stress, but that is the biggest relationship I can associate with it. Everyone's different, but personally I don't think my diagnosis had anything to do with stress or a depressed immune system. Plenty of stress since then related to bad news and trying to find something that will kill the damn thing, but I really can't blame the initial diagnosis on stress. Again, even post diagnosis, rarely ill from viral or bacterial causes (side effects of meds, sometimes yes). 

                                                      ecc26
                                                      Participant

                                                        I suppose I was under more than normal stress just prior to my diagnosis as I was finishing my veterinary clinical rotations/degree and had just moved to PEI for an internship. Honestly though, I've always had an excellent immune system- even during that period of time. I hadn't had a cold or flu in years, while everyone around me was constantly coughing and/or out with flu I never got sick (still don't). For me, the diagnosis and therapies cause stress, but that is the biggest relationship I can associate with it. Everyone's different, but personally I don't think my diagnosis had anything to do with stress or a depressed immune system. Plenty of stress since then related to bad news and trying to find something that will kill the damn thing, but I really can't blame the initial diagnosis on stress. Again, even post diagnosis, rarely ill from viral or bacterial causes (side effects of meds, sometimes yes). 

                                                        sweetaugust
                                                        Participant

                                                          Hi Nigel,

                                                          This is a very good question.  In the two years before my stage 4 diagnosis, I came to work every day wondering if that would be the day I would be fired.  My boss is a good man, but he was high stress and yelled a lot.  He wasn't yelling at me, but the yelling alone was killing me.  I was just waiting until I made an error and I was out the door.

                                                          Then I got my diagnosis and BOOM, just like that, he stopped yelling.  He told me that it is proven by science that stress is very bad for the body, and especially so for those with compromised immune systems.  He told me I was to have zero stress.  He then delegated out some of my duties to others, and he has 100% in my corner.  Ever since then, he has taken care of me and mentions daily how much he appreciates all that I do and all I give. 

                                                          It's amazing the difference it makes.  That, and no longer sweating the small stuff, have made a huge difference in my life.

                                                          I am very lucky, Laurie

                                                          sweetaugust
                                                          Participant

                                                            Hi Nigel,

                                                            This is a very good question.  In the two years before my stage 4 diagnosis, I came to work every day wondering if that would be the day I would be fired.  My boss is a good man, but he was high stress and yelled a lot.  He wasn't yelling at me, but the yelling alone was killing me.  I was just waiting until I made an error and I was out the door.

                                                            Then I got my diagnosis and BOOM, just like that, he stopped yelling.  He told me that it is proven by science that stress is very bad for the body, and especially so for those with compromised immune systems.  He told me I was to have zero stress.  He then delegated out some of my duties to others, and he has 100% in my corner.  Ever since then, he has taken care of me and mentions daily how much he appreciates all that I do and all I give. 

                                                            It's amazing the difference it makes.  That, and no longer sweating the small stuff, have made a huge difference in my life.

                                                            I am very lucky, Laurie

                                                              mary1233
                                                              Participant

                                                                I hate to break with the crowd, but my life was going just fine until I got my diagnosis. It came out of nowhere. Then came the stress.

                                                                 

                                                                Good luck to all.

                                                                mary1233
                                                                Participant

                                                                  I hate to break with the crowd, but my life was going just fine until I got my diagnosis. It came out of nowhere. Then came the stress.

                                                                   

                                                                  Good luck to all.

                                                                  oldblue
                                                                  Participant

                                                                     

                                                                    I'm a nurse and I worked in a very remote aboriginal community in the Northern Territory in Australia. The nearest supermarket was a 300 mile drive off road on dirt. The track was only open for six months of the year due the wet season and the four rivers, crococdile infested, required to drive across. I worked 80 hour weeks and loved the work despite the obvious stress. These communities can be very violent and unpredictable at times. I managed the clinic and my wife was one of the nurses there.

                                                                    We got a new area manager. I immediatly felt the antipathy and the lack of trust. After six months of depleting my scarce resources and receiving warnings from colleagues that she was soliciting complaints about me, she hit us both with dozens of allegations. We were denied any chance to offer a defence of them and every single allegation was false. Then she reported us both to the nurses board and we were unable to work as we were so depressed and anxious. We were simply overwhelmed. After a year the nurses board threw out all of the allegations against us. By the time that happened my wife was crippled with huge depression and I was too along with PTSD and suicidality.

                                                                    But by that time, a mark on my thigh had grown. I ignored it as I was totally focussed on defending my wife and I – it was like a full time job. I had never known stress like it. Even now I have frequent nightmares. Now I fight the legal fight to obtain compensation from what was done to us. They won't pay us and we have to take them to court. Just when I thought I was ready to start that fight, I was diagnosed with mel.

                                                                    I do not think stress caused my melanoma but it never helped having to be so focussed on mounting a defence. I expect it depleted my immune system and distracted me from getting the mark on my skin checked out in time. False allegations are a living hell. I had no idea of the damage it causes. No one should have to go through it. That manager should be jailed in my opinion. She is indirectly responsible for my mel predicament now. Of course that will never be proven.

                                                                    More than anything iwant to get back what was taken away from us. At least then maybe my wife can have some peace knowing we won the fight for compensation even if i am not around to savour it with her.

                                                                     

                                                                    oldblue
                                                                    Participant

                                                                       

                                                                      I'm a nurse and I worked in a very remote aboriginal community in the Northern Territory in Australia. The nearest supermarket was a 300 mile drive off road on dirt. The track was only open for six months of the year due the wet season and the four rivers, crococdile infested, required to drive across. I worked 80 hour weeks and loved the work despite the obvious stress. These communities can be very violent and unpredictable at times. I managed the clinic and my wife was one of the nurses there.

                                                                      We got a new area manager. I immediatly felt the antipathy and the lack of trust. After six months of depleting my scarce resources and receiving warnings from colleagues that she was soliciting complaints about me, she hit us both with dozens of allegations. We were denied any chance to offer a defence of them and every single allegation was false. Then she reported us both to the nurses board and we were unable to work as we were so depressed and anxious. We were simply overwhelmed. After a year the nurses board threw out all of the allegations against us. By the time that happened my wife was crippled with huge depression and I was too along with PTSD and suicidality.

                                                                      But by that time, a mark on my thigh had grown. I ignored it as I was totally focussed on defending my wife and I – it was like a full time job. I had never known stress like it. Even now I have frequent nightmares. Now I fight the legal fight to obtain compensation from what was done to us. They won't pay us and we have to take them to court. Just when I thought I was ready to start that fight, I was diagnosed with mel.

                                                                      I do not think stress caused my melanoma but it never helped having to be so focussed on mounting a defence. I expect it depleted my immune system and distracted me from getting the mark on my skin checked out in time. False allegations are a living hell. I had no idea of the damage it causes. No one should have to go through it. That manager should be jailed in my opinion. She is indirectly responsible for my mel predicament now. Of course that will never be proven.

                                                                      More than anything iwant to get back what was taken away from us. At least then maybe my wife can have some peace knowing we won the fight for compensation even if i am not around to savour it with her.

                                                                       

                                                                      oldblue
                                                                      Participant

                                                                         

                                                                        I'm a nurse and I worked in a very remote aboriginal community in the Northern Territory in Australia. The nearest supermarket was a 300 mile drive off road on dirt. The track was only open for six months of the year due the wet season and the four rivers, crococdile infested, required to drive across. I worked 80 hour weeks and loved the work despite the obvious stress. These communities can be very violent and unpredictable at times. I managed the clinic and my wife was one of the nurses there.

                                                                        We got a new area manager. I immediatly felt the antipathy and the lack of trust. After six months of depleting my scarce resources and receiving warnings from colleagues that she was soliciting complaints about me, she hit us both with dozens of allegations. We were denied any chance to offer a defence of them and every single allegation was false. Then she reported us both to the nurses board and we were unable to work as we were so depressed and anxious. We were simply overwhelmed. After a year the nurses board threw out all of the allegations against us. By the time that happened my wife was crippled with huge depression and I was too along with PTSD and suicidality.

                                                                        But by that time, a mark on my thigh had grown. I ignored it as I was totally focussed on defending my wife and I – it was like a full time job. I had never known stress like it. Even now I have frequent nightmares. Now I fight the legal fight to obtain compensation from what was done to us. They won't pay us and we have to take them to court. Just when I thought I was ready to start that fight, I was diagnosed with mel.

                                                                        I do not think stress caused my melanoma but it never helped having to be so focussed on mounting a defence. I expect it depleted my immune system and distracted me from getting the mark on my skin checked out in time. False allegations are a living hell. I had no idea of the damage it causes. No one should have to go through it. That manager should be jailed in my opinion. She is indirectly responsible for my mel predicament now. Of course that will never be proven.

                                                                        More than anything iwant to get back what was taken away from us. At least then maybe my wife can have some peace knowing we won the fight for compensation even if i am not around to savour it with her.

                                                                         

                                                                        mary1233
                                                                        Participant

                                                                          I hate to break with the crowd, but my life was going just fine until I got my diagnosis. It came out of nowhere. Then came the stress.

                                                                           

                                                                          Good luck to all.

                                                                        sweetaugust
                                                                        Participant

                                                                          Hi Nigel,

                                                                          This is a very good question.  In the two years before my stage 4 diagnosis, I came to work every day wondering if that would be the day I would be fired.  My boss is a good man, but he was high stress and yelled a lot.  He wasn't yelling at me, but the yelling alone was killing me.  I was just waiting until I made an error and I was out the door.

                                                                          Then I got my diagnosis and BOOM, just like that, he stopped yelling.  He told me that it is proven by science that stress is very bad for the body, and especially so for those with compromised immune systems.  He told me I was to have zero stress.  He then delegated out some of my duties to others, and he has 100% in my corner.  Ever since then, he has taken care of me and mentions daily how much he appreciates all that I do and all I give. 

                                                                          It's amazing the difference it makes.  That, and no longer sweating the small stuff, have made a huge difference in my life.

                                                                          I am very lucky, Laurie

                                                                      Viewing 14 reply threads
                                                                      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
                                                                      About the MRF Patient Forum

                                                                      The MRF Patient Forum is the oldest and largest online community of people affected by melanoma. It is designed to provide peer support and information to caregivers, patients, family and friends. There is no better place to discuss different parts of your journey with this cancer and find the friends and support resources to make that journey more bearable.

                                                                      The information on the forum is open and accessible to everyone. To add a new topic or to post a reply, you must be a registered user. Please note that you will be able to post both topics and replies anonymously even though you are logged in. All posts must abide byย MRF posting policies.

                                                                      Popular Topics